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Re: Switching to XML

From: "Joshua D(dot) Drake" <jd(at)commandprompt(dot)com>
To: Tom Lane <tgl(at)sss(dot)pgh(dot)pa(dot)us>
Cc: Peter Eisentraut <peter_e(at)gmx(dot)net>, David Fetter <david(at)fetter(dot)org>, Guillaume Lelarge <guillaume(at)lelarge(dot)info>, Josh Berkus <josh(at)agliodbs(dot)com>, pgsql-docs(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: Switching to XML
Date: 2006-12-11 20:43:27
Message-ID: 1165869807.19970.97.camel@localhost.localdomain (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-docs
On Mon, 2006-12-11 at 15:07 -0500, Tom Lane wrote:
> "Joshua D. Drake" <jd(at)commandprompt(dot)com> writes:
> > Secondly the make postgres.xml would be a one time thing.
> 
> Agreed, the cost of conversion is one-time ... but it's not small.
> Aside from getting the files themselves converted, there's the effort
> for people to find, install, and learn suitable tools, not to mention
> come up to speed on the differences between xml and sgml.  (I assume
> there are some significant ones, else why are we having this discussion?)

Well this actually comes back to one of Peter's points :). You shouldn't
need to update your tools. If you installed Docbook tools, it is going
to come with DSSSL and XSL. OpenJade will process the XML as will any of
the current db2, docbook2 etc.. scripts.

As far as learning the differences between xml and sgml, they are very
subtle because it is still Docbook.

http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/docbook/chapter/book/appb.html
http://www.docbook.org/tdg/en/html/ch02.html

For most things that anyone would be doing, they will see extremely
little difference. I didn't even notice the difference because I never
used short tags.


> The real problem here is that you've still failed to establish any
> sizable benefit from converting.  As best I can tell at the moment,
> the acceptable options for editing XML will be about the same as they
> are for SGML: emacs, and not a lot else.

Well basically, editing :) any editor although some make it easier as I
mentioned Emacs, BlueFish, Kate etc...

The benefits are (in my mind):

1. At least some of our regionals are already using XML. Let's make it a
little easier for them to do so.

2. It would make the new printed documentation project easier for David
Blewitt (the guy that is doing it)

3. DocBook XML is where FOSS documentation is moving or has moved
depending on the project. Should any project want to integrate any part
of our docs to their docs or vice versa, it will be easier for them if
we follow the similar standard of using Docbook XML. 

4. Their is active and progressive development with XSL and Docbook.
There is not (that I can see) the same level with DSSSL and Docbbok.

5. The format objects development (FOP) seems to be better maintained
then the dblatex/db2latex/pdflatex stuff. FOP does not appear to work
with SGML.

6. Nobody has really come up with a reason *not* to move to XML that
can't easily be addressed.

7. And this may be ethereal but I do believe that if we were following
in the footsteps of other FOSS projects we may be able to get writers
from those projects. Even only 1 of them.

>   I don't really see why I
> should have to start spelling out every closing tag for a no-op like
> that.

Fair enough but if you are using a decent editor, it will take care of
that for you.

To be honest. I do not care. I have zero preference to XML or SGML
because I know them both. I do however care, when I have regionals and
contributors trying to give to the community that are having difficulty
doing so *because* we use SGML versus XML.

It is enough for me, that I have PostgreSQLFR, Chile and the printed
book project all clammoring for XML support to give more weight to their
arguments. Each of the three have presented their specific problems with
the SGML. Not to mention people such as Andrew Dunstan and the others. 

Maybe the people demand isn't the concern. Okay, but switching to XML is
not hurting anyone. It's not like we are trying to change languages...
only the DTD :)


Sincerely,

Joshua D. Drake


> 
> 			regards, tom lane
> 
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