Linked by Andy Roberts on Mon 6th Jun 2005 18:19 UTC
Features, Office Anyone who has used Microsoft Word for a reasonable amount of time will recognise my very own Andy's Laws on Word:
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LaTeX vs. DocBook
by John Nilsson on Mon 6th Jun 2005 22:31 UTC

I recently did some school work in booth DocBook and LaTeX. I first decided to try DocBook because it seems more modern. I used the default XSL and Apache-FOP.

The first work was a Analysis & Design documentation for a system we would create.

The VEX editor for Eclipse was a nice way of editing XML, but tables and other complex DocBook stuff was a complete nightmare. We didn't do any references so I never tried refdb (and I wasn't sure I'd find a good APA style either).

Later we needed to create a report on the work which would neede to have some references in it. As I allready had a LaTeX setup ready with the correct APA style configured I decided to go LaTeX for that.

In booth ocation I decided to use a text based system to be able to coordinate our work through subversion. A nice post-commit script triggerd a make of the pdf documents and published them on a webserver.

In the end I realized, that even though DocBook is promising it is not as mature as LaTeX. LaTeX simply does a better job of typesetting images and linebreaking and stuff. Also the abundance of availible packages for everything you could ever need availible for LaTeX makes it quicker to set up.

On the learning curve end of things, it was much easier to convince the other members of the team to try LaTeX markup than to learn XML.

To have the APA-style Bibtex package work in Swedish I hade to do some customitations of my own and I also hade to some trickery to be able to use a title less section that shows up in the index. LaTeX is a real bitch when you need to do out of the ordinary stuff, I can agree with that. But I hear that the ConTeXt distribution is better than LaTeX in that regard.

So untill FOP and DocBook matures some more and gets som good (I've only tried a few) OSS editors, I'd recommend to go LaTeX. With ConTeXt as a fallback.