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Re: [xsl] XSLT or static site generator


Subject: Re: [xsl] XSLT or static site generator
From: "David Cramer david@xxxxxxxxxxxx" <xsl-list-service@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 2 May 2016 15:16:51 -0000

On 5/2/16 9:22 AM, Eliot Kimber ekimber@xxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> Many of the documentation Web sites and online help for the products you
> know and love are generated from DITA XML, including Oracle, IBM, Adobe,
> Cloudera, Oculus, Nokia, and many many others (those are just companies I
> know about personally).

See https://www.staticgen.com/ for a useful list of open source static
site generators.

DocBook and DITA have both been doing static site generation for years
(decades in the case of DocBook). I've done production work with
DocBook, DITA, and Middleman (a Ruby-based static site generator that
supports Markdown), though I'm not doing anything with doc tool chains
in my current role. While I really enjoyed writing xslts and appreciate
the power of semantic markup, I understand the popularity of generators
like Middleman, Jekyll, Sphinx, etc:

These static site generators support light-weight markup formats that
don't require (or all but require) an awesome commercial editor like
Oxygen to be productive. Github in turn supports these formats by
presenting a rendered view when you browse the repository and rendered
diffs in pull requests. Even without those features, the lighter weight
markup formats are easier to read in the line diff tool provided by your
favorite IDE. Editors are the site of holy wars and asking people to use
anything other than their one-true editor is often a non-starter.

These static site generators typically have support for web dev
convenience technologies like Sass (+ Bootstrap), CoffeeScript, and Haml
to make css and JavaScript bearable and free hipsters from the need to
write any angle brackets at all. There's nothing to stop you from using
Sass and CoffeeScript as part of an xslt-based generator, but having a
kit with all that built in, plus a little server runs locally and
auto-refreshes in your browser every time you save a file is a
convenient way to author.

The open source toolkits for DocBook and DITA offer base xslts for
generating html, but leave it to you to incorporate the other
convenience technologies.

Regards,
David


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