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Version: DocBook V4.5

Why Read This Book?

This book is designed to be the clear, concise, normative reference to the DocBook DTD. This book is the official documentation for the DocBook DTD.

We hope to answer, definitively, all the questions you might have about all the elements and entities in DocBook. In particular, we cover the following subjects:

  • The general nature of DocBook. With over 300 elements, DocBook can be a bit overwhelming at first. We quickly get you up to speed on how the pieces fit together.
  • How to write DocBook documents. Where should you start and what should you do?
  • Parsing and validation. After you've written a document, how can you tell if it really conforms to the DocBook DTD?
  • How to publish DocBook documents. After you've written one, what do you do with it? We provide a guide to using some popular free tools to publish DocBook documents both in print and on the Web.
  • Customizing the DTD. Many individuals and corporations have standardized on the DocBook DTD. Whether your subject matter is computer software documentation or not, we explain how you can write a “customization layer” to tailor DocBook explicitly for your information.
  • Understanding all of the elements. Each element is extensively documented, including the intended semantics and the purpose of all its attributes. An example of proper usage is given for every element. The parameter entities and character entities are also described.
  • Stylesheets. Several standard stylesheet languages are briefly described.
  • XML compatability. We outline all of the points that you'll need to consider as you or your organization contemplate XML for authoring, publishing, or both.
  • Additional resources and a CD-ROM. Finally, we direct you to other places you can go for all the latest info, and offer a complete set of online documentation on the CD-ROM.