In the mailing list docbook-apps, I recently answered to the post titled “General questions about DocBook -> LaTeX“. I think my notes are interesting not only for the subscribers, but also for others.
I’ve read online that some people follow a different procedure; instead of going from DocBook to FO, they go from DocBook to LaTeX before creating their final PDF print output (using dblatex
, for example). I am wondering if this would be a better publishing model for my needs, since I know LaTeX is made for print output. I’ve never used LaTeX before, however, so it would take some research on my part before starting to work with it.
Unless you are an experienced LaTeX user, you’d better avoid the LaTeX way.
So, the point of this email is to ask some general questions, if anyone with more experience can answer them for me:
1. What are the main advantages of going from DocBook to LaTeX before generating final print output of documents?
The main advantages:
* better typesetting quality,
* more control over the final layout.
However, if you don’t know LaTeX, you can’t get them. An offensive remark: I expect that the authors of dblatex and db2latex are not LaTeX experts and their tools don’t give the advatanges.
I’m also not an expert, but I have experience with converting XML to LaTex. I lost a lot of time in LaTeX debris, but the results were very good.
Unfortunately, at the moment the results are not available. Year ago, I promised to write DocBook TeXML stylesheets, but I still can’t start doing it.
2. If you know what you’re doing, can you do most things with XSL stylesheets and FO that you could do with LaTeX?
3. Which publishing model would be the best choice for making pretty PDFs for print.
I’ve developed Consodoc publishing server:
XML to beautiful documents
I think it’s one of the best choices.
I realize that these are vague questions, and it is probably perfectly valid to respond “it depends on what you are actually doing in your documents”. I understand this, but I wanted to first get a basic understanding of what can be gained by the DocBook -> LaTeX publishing model before further investing large amounts of time in either approach.
At the moment, the safe side is to follow FO. At least, nobody will accuse you in case of problems.