Should I learn docbook?

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Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:08 pm

Should I learn docbook?

Post by dataf3l » Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:13 pm

I really really really want to write a book (and book-stuff).

I have a question.

I'm learning (finally) about something "I've been meaning to learn for a long time but hadn't had the time", which is DocBook.

It's been on my radar for a long time.

It looks like its a technology which seems to be loosing steam and is being used less and less in the last 20 years.

I somehow feel I "missed the boat/party"

It looks complicated, hard, and it will involve some pain (XSL).
I know XSL, but I'm rusty on it, and I remember it sucked.

So, the question is, if you were me, would you learn how to use DocBook?
or would you learn another, perhaps newer technology for typesetting books?

These are side-quests:
Is Docbook being used by companies?? like, if I put it in my resume,
will it increase the chances of getting hired?? is there a company
where I can go and hack on Docbook full time that will take me in?

Docbook looks like the kind of thing I could do for a living, like
for a company, but I don't even know who is using it, I need to do more research.

I feel like I'm learning php3, all the websites that talk about it look dated, and there isn't a lot of new information, it looks like it is a dying art, and I'm afraid all my knowledge will become obsolete at some point.

Can you advice a newbie?

Posts: 7579
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2004 5:18 pm

Re: Should I learn docbook?

Post by Radu » Wed Sep 25, 2019 1:15 pm


There is a DocBook users list on which you could ask these questions:

As far as I know DocBook is still used in the Academia and it might be suitable for book-like publishing (and less suitable for heavy content reuse and creating web sites).
Oxygen offers support for creating DocBook books, for editing and publishing them. If you want you can get a trial license of Oxygen and try it out. The out of the box publishing works but if you want to customize it then indeed if you do not find a specific parameter already present you would need some knowledge of XSLT for that. ... iting.html

But in my opinion DocBook is in general not used much and its use has declined in the industry.
In general in the industry if you want to become a technical documentation writer and you want to learn an XML vocabulary for this, then this vocabulary would be the DITA vocabulary. There is a past blog post listing resources for learning DITA with Oxygen: ... xygen.html

You can also use DITA to write your book. For DITA on the publishing part we have a special publishing scenario which uses CSS to style the published output. So you would not need to learn XSLT to customize the obtained PDF.

Radu Coravu
<oXygen/> XML Editor

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