New edition of DocBook XSL: The Complete Guide

by Michael(tm) Smith

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Bob "the DocBook Answer Man" Stayton has released the third edition of his guide to publishing DocBook documents.

A PDF version is available for purchase; an HTML version is also available online. Bob's site says a paperback version will be available from Amazon some time in Marh.

This book is pretty much essential if you do any work at all with DocBook. It covers just about every possible aspect of DocBook publishing (that is, generating HTML, PDF, HTML Help, man pages, etc., from DocBook XML source) -- everything from general tool setup down to the level of stuff like fine-tuning content of headers and footers, title pages, cross-references, indexes, etc.

The previous edition was already extremely thorough, but this edition adds a significant amount of content -- about 150 pages worth. It has now grown to 560 pages. Take a look at the list of changes.

Some of the stuff added includes brand-new sections on generating side floats and marginal notes (in PDF output) for DocBook sidebar elements. There is also a new section on generating Eclipse help, and new chapters specifically devoted to working with lists and footnotes.

Bob is one of the developers in the project that maintains the DocBook stylesheets (I am too, by the way), so I guess part of the reason the book is now in its third edition is that Bob keeps adding new features to the stylesheets -- and he tends to follow the "he who adds its also gets to document it" philosophy. :) He's the one who added the side-float/marginal-note support, for example. Another thing he's responsible for contributing is the implementation of XSLT support for the DocBook Olink element -- a pretty sophisticated system that enables relative links to be maintained among rendered DocBook documents (all covered in detail in his book).

Anyway, I highly recommend the book. Buy the PDF and/or paperback version (when it becomes available).