New documentation requirements

Andrew Sullivan (asullivan@sprint.ca)
Tue, 12 Jan 1999 00:27:28 -0500 (EST)


Hello all,

I had been planning to move to the new DTD ordained by SGMLtools when I
prepared the next version of the FAQ.  That DTD is a near-standard in the
publication community.

As far as I can see (and remember that I'm short-sighted), the new
SGMLtools (2.x) depends on Python.  There are obvious strong reasons to
avoid going with this approach: Python is nowhere near as common as Perl,
and requiring yet another tool seems almost perverse.  In any case, I
can't get the latest SGMLtools to compile here, on a Python-less machine.
Of course, it's Python-less partially because I've not yet managed to get
Python to compile here correctly.  I'm starting to wonder if it's worth
it, except that to keep the AS FAQ in the LDP, we _must_ use the LDP
formats.

On the other hand, arranging everything around (pseudo?-)standard tools
like SGMLtools makes all the documentation easily portable, and also
ensures that, as long as we keep up with the current trends, we'll keep
the documentation easily accessible.

As amny of you know, I'm in the midst of an effort to (at once) expand and
simplify the afterstepdoc system, so I'm very keen to hear opinions on
this matter.  The more elaborated, the better (but please do not mistake
length for elaboration!), but I will consider carefully all views.

I do not promise a successful overhaul of afterstepdoc from this, as (it
seems to me) I'm already aiming considerably higher than my abilities.  On
the other hand, _someone_ let me into grad school.  I can't be totally
stupid.

Please do let me know what you think.  Do not spare my feelings!  (>1500
students /year inures one to personal criticism, ok?)  Just tell me
whether you think forgeing some sort of permanent link between AS and
SGMLtools is desirable (and why/why not).  Similarly, as always, please
let me know if you have a complaint or suggestion about any current
documentation.

Andrew

Andrew Sullivan | asullivan@sprint.ca (better)| ajsulliv@mcmaster.ca (worse)
                                   *  *  *
              Go to http://www.afterstep.org/help/, or issue
'finger -l ajsulliv@mcmail.cis.mcmaster.ca' to find the AfterStep FAQ file.


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