[SciPy-dev] Re: Accessible SciPy (ASP) project

Janet Swisher swisher at enthought.com
Mon Nov 1 18:14:00 CST 2004

I agree with the gist of your message (especially since you used some of my
ideas :-)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: scipy-dev-bounces at scipy.net 
> [mailto:scipy-dev-bounces at scipy.net] On Behalf Of Joe Harrington
> Sent: Monday, November 01, 2004 5:20 PM

>  To do a book well, you have to have 
> consistent numbering and indexing, and if you reorder 
> chapters or remove figures, all their numbering and therefore 
> all the cross-references have to change.  You don't want to 
> do that by hand.  You have to have perfectly consistent 
> typesetting of figure captions, chapter titles, tables, 
> lists, citations, references, etc.  Figure placement rules 
> have to be consistent.  It needs an index and a table of 
> contents.  While Word can do these things, it does not make 
> it easy if you are collecting chapters from many sources, who 
> will be updating and editing their contributions while the 
> book is coming together.  OOo is substantially more primitive 
> than even Word in these regards.  

I disagree that OpenOffice.org is "substantially more primitive" than Word
for book-building. The current version (1.1.3) is substantially improved
over 1.0, and version 2.0 (in development) will be better yet. OOo and Word
have different strengths and weaknesses. While I haven't used OOo for a
project as large as you describe, I would place it above Word and below
FrameMaker in capability for book-length projects, among WYSIWYG apps.

> I think OOo and ReST fall far short, for books.  

I agree that ReST is not a good choice for books. That doesn't mean we can't
use it for shorter documents.

> However, if someone can post a similar description of a large 
> effort to produce a book using different open tools, I would 
> be interested to read it (the description, not the book!).

No personal experience, but another option that is widely used in the open
source world is the DocBook XML DTD. For example, the Blender3d
documentation uses it
(http://www.blender3d.org/cms/Documentation_Project.264.0.html). (This page
mentions using TeX for equations, but in a quick browse of the Blender3d
docs, I didn't see any.) There are probably many other examples of open
source projects that use DocBook. It is also one of O'Reilly's accepted


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