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Re: [vox-tech] sgml, xml question

Re: [vox-tech] sgml, xml question

On Mon, Jul 23, 2001 at 12:14:52PM -0700, Henry House wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 23, 2001 at 11:23:47AM -0700, Micah Cowan wrote:
> [...]
> > No.  These are all /target/ formats for SGML processors such as jade.
> > DocBook is a purely content-oriented documentation method - more
> > content-oriented than LaTeX, which is still a package written in a
> > typesetting language (TeX); and so necessarily display-oriented to at
> > least some degree.  Converting from LaTeX to SGML is about as
> > difficult as converting PostScript to LaTeX.  You'll have to translate
> > to SGML by hand.
>
> I disagree. Converting the subset of LaTeX concerned with /semantic markup/
> is certainly possible and may be done programatically. Don't know of any tool
> that does this, alas. Of course, if you dip into the vast formatting
> possibilities that TeX offers, you are on your own.

You are right, of course.  But this would be a /subset/ of LaTeX,
since any knowledgeable LaTeX user may feel free to use TeX constructs
when it suits him.  Also, there are a variety of widely used LaTeX
constructs (\hwide, etc.) which have no translation to DocBook, since
they are formatting-oriented.  Consider too the famous math-formatting
tools which LaTeX has, which DocBook proper cannot render - though the
committee has recently added a MathML module to DocBook, which should
do quite nicely.

As I wrote the above, I knew that LaTeX which conforms to unduly
strict confinements could be converted - probably pretty easy with a
good awk script.  But it would only be a relatively small subset of
LaTeX.  Additionally, the same thing could be said of PostScript -
since it is a language, after all.  If people were to confine
themselves to some arbitrary, more content-oriented functions or
something, it would be /possible/.  But as I said, the two
propositions are about the same level of difficulty, and I doubt
anyone will ever develop tools for either problem.

> [...]
> > Isn't Henry doing a talk on SGML/XML soon?  I'm sure he'll probably be
> > talking about DocBook, since it's probably the single most widely used
> > SGML application next to HTML (which is sort of bastardized SGML these
> > days).
>
> Not that I know of ;-). I'm certainly willing to take a stap at it though.

You're on the "to be scheduled" list for SGML and TeX (not XML, sorry!)

Micah