The DocBook SGML specification allows publishers to mark up text content to be used in traditional print as well as on the Web. DocBook: The Definitive Guide examines and catalogs the entirety of the DocBook specification and will be useful to anyone who uses SGML to publish documents.
DocBook uses SGML to structure the contents of a book, identifying such elements as authors, chapters, headings, and so on. The heart of DocBook: The Definitive Guide lies in its full reference of over 300 DocBook elements, organized alphabetically (from "Abbrev" to "Year"). The syntax of each element is described, along with sample SGML code illustrating its proper usage.
This book assumes a working knowledge of SGML, though basic concepts are described during the introduction. Later reference sections present a wide range of DocBook "entities." (These are values that can be used to describe custom content within a DocBook document.) Character entities, codes used to describe diacritics and mathematical symbols, are also listed.
Later sections address DocBook customization, including removal of unused elements. As you might expect, no single publishing scheme employs every SGML element available; however, like any good reference, it includes a discussion of each element that could conceivably be used. Another useful section discusses the relationship between DocBook and XML, including the fairly simple conversion possibilities for cross-translating these markup types.
DocBook is a powerful way to distribute books, both in traditional print and online. Provided you have some knowledge of SGML, anyone who makes use of the DocBook specification will benefit from this worthy reference. --Richard Dragan
Topics covered: DocBook basics and SGML/XML; publishing books with DocBook; style sheet languages: FOSIs, DSSSL, CSS, and XSL; DocBook element reference; attribute entities; class entities; common entities; module entities; local attribute entities; mixture entities; module parameter entities; role attribute parameter entities; character entities; customizing DocBook; converting DocBook to XML.
About the Author
Norm Walsh is a Production Tools Specialist at O'Reilly and Associates' Cambridge office. Before Norm joined ORA, he was a research assistant at UMass, Amherst where he earned his master's degree in computer science.
Leonard Muellner has been implementing and supporting the production of O'Reilly books marked up in DocBook since 1994.