Going to have to convert XML to LaTeX

Matthew Burgess ca9mbu at eos.sunderland.ac.uk
Fri Feb 14 08:57:16 PST 2003

"Heinz Kirchmann" <kirchman at dfki.uni-kl.de> wrote in message
news:200302141634.h1EGY1219252 at gate-2000.kl.dfki.de...
> Furthermore you need some xslt stylesheets to convert the book
>   a) into one huge shellscript building an automatic LFS for you

I believe Timothy's lfscmd tool does this already, and isn't an XSLT
stylesheet.  I think it's a C based XML Parser thingy...willing to be
corrected though :)

>   b) into a nice looking html version

Both XML and LaTeX offer this functionality

>   c) into a docbook document

The XML is already conforms to the docbook format, although there is
talk of moving to a generic LFSML in the future.

>d) into a printable version of the book (possibly via LaTex)

At the moment XML -> PDF is easy to achieve, but what is harder is
getting good quality PDF output, i.e. with page breaks and text
formatting applied in the correct (desired) places.  Unfortunately due
to the lack of presentation information inherent (by design) with XML
then using this format consigns us to accepting what the XML->PDF
processor thinks is good-looking.  Of course with LaTeX the formatting
and layout is explicit, and highly configurable.

> I'm sure LaTex is much easier, but I like the power hidden in XML,
> especially together with XSL transformation. I confess: it's not fun
> write stylesheets or XML documents, it's hard to read and the
> are bloated. And I have to say: I don't know much about point d) above
> and perhaps _today_ it is not possible to convert documents into pdf
> easily. But: somewhen it will be possible and a XML document is
> "weighing" much more than a LaTex document: it forces you to produce
> well structured documents and offers standard mechanisms to convert
> into pretty looking stuff.

Personally I think that XML is being overused (even to the point of
being "abused") now.  Everyone's jumping on the XML bandwagon because
it's a recent fad.  Unfortuantely they seem to be forgetting *why* XML
exists - it's a data representation format - purposefully omitting
presetation attributes as it's up to the receiving application to decide
how to present the information.

In the case of LFS, I think it would make more sense to go with LaTeX as
it's specifically designed for typesetting environments, and as LFS is
afterall a book (yes I know there's a lot more to it...) then it should
use the most appropriate tools for producing printed output...to me this
points directly at LaTeX.



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