I am trying to sift through the sea of DocBook-related things. Can anyone provide any guidance?
I have what I think are single-source publishing (and I would say single-source *editing*) requirements for my corporate documentation/training/education project (we train/educate our customers and their users how to use our complex, hardware-and-software combination products in enterprise environments).
I have been fumbling around for quite a while trying to learn more about what things exist out there...and in the process I learn a lot more about my corporate problem(s)...which was part of the point.
I stumbled upon a DocBook reference just today...and it's exploded into a continual swirl of information surrounding related concepts.
Can anywhere here at the Moodle doc project steer me through the sea of really-interesting information in a direction that might help me with the smoothest of sailing? Right now, everything looks rather daunting, and it would be nice to get a "top down, authoritative guide" to this whole world of single-source publishing kind of stuff (if I'm using the right syntax to describe my problem(s)--although I may not come close to fully-understanding my problem-world yet).
Yes, I'm babbling on...may or may not be making much sense...it's late in the evening (early in the morning) and my head is still spinning.
I think I may need something like the stuff described above.
How to find the Grail?
I thought that maybe I might have had this one licked with OpenOffice ( http://xml.openoffice.org/xmerge/docbook/ ), given OpenOffice can read Word (.doc) files and spit out DocBook files (per the aforementioned link).
Then I see that the DocBook took some unflattering pop shots at OpenOffice:
Anybody here at Moodle had experience in this area?
My Big Thing: I have a lot of unmanaged, but valuable, content-contributors that will be stuffing my website inbox with Word- and PowerPoint-based content...and I (and hopefully some helpers I acquire--either staff or otherwise) will want to gobble it up, organize it in the existing "Table of Contents" that we will (hopefully) already have as per the start of the project (formed by a job-task-analysis/user-scenario-analysis kind of deal), and spit it back out in the "ubiquitous content" flavor with any ole' format you want....presumably via the DocBook-output-to-anything mechanism?
(Fyi: output formats/applications will probably far exceed input formats/applications, including HowTos, user manuals, .pdf's, training presentations, memos, etc etc.)
I gotta at least figure out how I'm going to translate all that non-standardized input into a the "ubiquitous content," DocBook or no DocBook...or structure my content-management plan differently then I have now (I can share portions of my planning document I have written if anyone is interested in reading it--just let me know).
Maybe I'll actually get some sleep now...
ps: I don't know how much of any of the above references address PowerPoint conversion stuff, but I'd like to get that part licked, too.
Well, I think I need to go plow through:
This includes: for $260 US (or for $160 w/ a special running until 10/31/04...if I read things correctly), I can get W2XML:
Anybody have experience with any of this stuff? I wish there was a way to get feedback on which tools at "ConvertOtherFormatsToDocBook" worked better then others. I looked around to see how I could post a comment about this...and Wiki stumped me.
[aside: I have to admit: I've never quite figured out Wiki. It seems like a big, globby mess to me. Anybody can dump in the sandbox (some of the time, I guess), but it all looks rather hap-hazzard in the end.]
If you accept reality, then you realise that your users always will use Word and nver switch to the free OpenOffice, even in Holland!!: Maybe it is worth the price: ($260)http://www.docsoft.com/w2xmlv2.htm
It is to difficult to train users to fill structures in tools you do not control on the server like OpenOffice. A php screen with fill-in-fields and prompts can do that job for you. (I am still suprised that the ssame peope who refuse to fill in forms on paper, just fill the fields off webforms like, like.. )
I just want the means to do it, any way I can right now, and I'm looking for various options, especially automated ones (eg, an upload web form automatically converts a .doc file into .xml file upon upload completion and stores it appropriately).
In further research, I've discovered that the Win2003 Word stuff doesn't make nicely-formatted XML output--as I expected without even looking. It seems that a Word-2003-only option to stuff into Docbook is not feasible at the moment. Anybody care to share alternative viewpoint/info/data?
My biggest doc-conversion issue thus far seems to be Powerpoint-to-XML/Docbook and XML/Docbook-to-Powerpoint. XHTML might be an intermediary language. This all remains to be seen.
I'm told that Framemaker 7.1 now has "native" DocBook DTD support.
Additionally: there's far more business benefit to these methods then just "document conversion." I might have to draw this up for my company in a presentation, I'm not yet sure. Let me know if anyone here is interested in this stuff. (Of course, you guys may no far more about this then I do.)
For what it's worth, I may be following up these thoughts/conversations/question to 1 or 2 tech-writing-type forums/email lists per recommendation from a tech-writing resource. These email lists can be found at:
I know that there seems to be minimal community participation in this thread but I suspect that many are lurking like I am.
I have minimal knowledge about XML and DocBook. That is the principal reason why I have not participated in the thread. But, I want to know more about it all.
I have been bookmarking like crazy for future reference. Please keep posting about your progress with this.
A general note here about DocBook/XML:
I think this technology can be quite help for many of my business requirements. A Moodle-type project may not have same/similar requirements, and therefore may not acquire as much benefit from such mechanisms.
To this end, I will try and make some future attempt to be aware that just because one has a hammer does not necessarily mean that one should go about thinking everything is a nail. ;)
Having said that, from what I see of things thus far, I think XML-based content control (like DocBook) could be a productive thing for Moodle.
Stay tuned, probably more to come over the days/weeks/months. If you don't hear from me on this thread for a while, please do not be hesitant to post a reply to say "Matt, how's it going with this?"
this thread is very interesting (and pretty old). Things have developed since then and I am now stuck with a similar problem.
The content I need
I would like to create content and
- deliver it online (moodle courses)
- deliver a print version
- deliver courseware (PowerPoint, Impress or similar to be shown in the classroom by the instructor
I am also responsable for technical documentation and translations at our company. Our products can only be used by skilled personell. A lot of content from the user manuals, data sheets, etc. explains concepts. So e.g. a user manual shares content with a moodle course.
XMetaL and DITA will be implemented within the next months in order to manage technical documentation. How do I integrated DITA and Moodle? I thought about generating HTML and PDF output individually for every course.
We don't have a lot of "students" (customers), however, for every customer group (3-10 participants) there will be a single personalized course.
This is my story (problem? challange?).
However, starting with a single source XML document authored in XMetaL, and then finding ways to render it to different output formats as automatically as possible is certainly thinking along the right lines.
I made a post two days ago in this forum asking essentially the same question. I'm wondering if you ever arrived at a solution. For our situation my inclination is to use Zope since I'm familiar with it (although I conceed the need to abstract the content from dtml tagging so the content isn't locked inside Zope). What I haven't planned out yet is how to modify Moodle resource display scripts to insert the external content into a resource page.
I'm aware of several of the repository solutions but they seem to provide files or resources that are not displayed as seamlessly as a regular web resource in moodle. I don't find that a satisfactory solution.
There is a new web service for single source publishing learning materials called CourseworkerXML www.courseworker.com. It supports DocBook (and other XML sources). You can develop course materials locally with your own XML editor (XMetal is supported), upload the XML master and figures into your own private workspace, and get Courseworker to batch generate the print, PDF and HTML/web publications you need. The quality of output is very professional.
It has to be setup first though, to accommodate your preferences (style, structure etc) and is really for teams producing whole programmes rather than individual tutors producing modules. It does support Moodle XML for assessments though, so you can single source those too and link them together with the core course materials.
It's used to produce the big eMBA programme at Edinburgh Business School, so has a pretty powerful batch pagination engine and HTML tree generator. That programme outputs in Chinese and Arabic too - still using DocBook XML masters.
There is a Moodle CPD demo showing courseworker outputs here: http://www.coachesinfo.com/index.php
And the reason I think they are disappointing is that different supporting media have different properties. And that when we publish each media separately, the designer/layout people involved do a lot of work setting up the content so that it works effectively for that media. A book is different from a magazine, and both are different from a newspaper, and changes in pulp quality, size and binding type all affect how you layout the text.
And the differences between all those variations in print media to digital media are huge. So personally, I have lost my interest in pure SSP solutions. Tools that make it really easy for a human to re-design the content for a new medium are good. But automatic won't do it.
Good designers can make content effective on specific media. I don't SSP toolchains can get you anything of even 'Reader's Digest' visual quality.
It does very much depend on what you are authoring, but for some types of contents it works fine. It's no good for glossy magazines, it is fine for formal documents like lecture notes or computer manuals.
I think it is good for authors to author content while thinking about structure, not presentation, which is what XML forces you to do.
Of course, to do a professional job, you do need good designers to design the stylesheets that that are applied to your content.
Does anyone know if/when the Moodle integration shown on the ICE demo site will be offered as a module?