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Re: [vox-tech] collaborative writing with latex
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Re: [vox-tech] collaborative writing with latex



on Fri, May 27, 2005 at 12:47:37PM -0700, Dylan Beaudette (dylan@iici.no-ip.org) wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> 
> A colleague and I were recently talking about adopting LATEX as the
> format for dissertations and publications and the like, but always
> came up against a problem: collaborative writting efforts.
> 
> While it is ok for me to write all of my stuff in LATEX, sharing an
> editable, electronic version becomes complicated when working with
> others who have no interest in using LATEX as well. This is probably
> why M$ word is so widespread in this dept. 

It's not a particularly good format for this, it's just widely
distributed.  I'll echo Henry's suggestion for using DocBook, for which
plugins exist for a number of authoring tools, including those by that
company that pressed charges against Dmitry Sklyarov for identifying its
broken digital restrictions management implmentation.  Not sure if MSFT
products are supported....

A minute or so with Google shows a number of possibilities, including
plugins for Our Name Is Mud software, antiword's option to output
DocBook format, and the DocBook Wiki.

    http://www.winfield.demon.nl/
    http://www.getnet.net/~swhitlat/DocBook/docbook_section.html
    http://wiki.docbook.org/topic/ConvertOtherFormatsToDocBook


> We came up with a couple possible solutions consisting of sending
> parts to be checked in RTF or text format, while keeping the original
> in LATEX. This of course is not always a very feasible option, as
> collaborators often want to see and work with the entire manuscript
> with figures. 

My suggestion would be to use a format for document interchange, then
merge back to LaTeX (or other format) as needed.  From the LaTeX
sources, you can generate PS/PDF output, which may meet your needs for
distributing a full manuscript-to-date, though not in a directly
editable format.

There are tools to convert _to_ RTF from HTML or LaTeX sources, which
may address some issues of interchange.  RTF itself is a parseable
text-based format which may provide sufficient formetting context to 
 
> Does anyone know of any existing methods of doing one's writting in
> LATEX, with the option of making it available for edits to others not
> using LATEX? 

Yet another option is to use one of the online collaborative authoring
tools, of which Drupal is one option.  It has a "book" mode in which
multiple users can edit text for assembly into book format.  I haven't
looked at this in depth, but it piqued my interest:

    http://drupal.org/node/284

Looks like it's best suited to online materials, but again:
well-structured HTML should be amenable to conversion to other formats.
I use a system to manage a document maintained in HTML and automatically
output to text, PS, PDF, and DOC (well, really RTF) formats, using shell
tools.


Peace.

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
   LNX-BBC:  Bootable GNU/Linux -- Don't leave /home without it.
     http://www.lnx-bbc.org/

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