Jim Menard <jimm / io.com> writes:

> Would you write a new book in XML or in LaTeX? Did you consider
> DocBook?

For print only, LaTeX - I love the control it gives me. For
multi-modal output, I honestly don't know. DocBook is pretty ungainly,
and you _still_ have to write stuff at the backend to get the final
result looking the way you want. Even then, you lose a lot of
flexibility. For example, I like to do page balancing (making the odd
and even pages end evenly across a two-page spread). That wasn't
possible in a lot of the Ruby book because of the number of code
examples, but I still managed to do it a fair amount of the time in
the first half of the book. To do that, you have to add and remove
little bits of vertical space: make interparagraph spaces slightly
stretchier here, slightly tighter there, change the spacing in tables,
shrink figures a bit and so on. In LaTeX that's fairly easy: I have a
set of layout macros which I can turn on and off, and I manually
insert them during the final weeks of the project. In DocBook though,
I don't think I'd have a way of expressing that kind of control, and
that would be a shame.


Dave