The world wide success that is XML

Most of the work has finished: people are using the specifications in production and the rate of errata has slowed to a crawl. XQuery, XSLT and EXI ended this year. But just because the specification work is ending doesn’t mean XML is ending! It means XML is at a stage where the technology is mature and widely deployed. People aren’t reporting many new problems because the problems have already been worked out.

The World Wide Success That Is XML, on the W3C Blog.

Extension:DocBookExport

There’s a new extension recently been added to mediawiki.org, called DocBookExport. It provides a system of defining a book’s structure (a set of pages and some title and other metadata) and then pipes the pages’ HTML through Pandoc and out into DocBook format, from where it can be turned into PDF or just downloaded as-is.

There are a few issues with getting the extension to run (e.g. it wants to write to its own directory, rather than a normal place for temporary files), and I haven’t actually managed to get it fully functioning. But the idea is interesting. Certainly, there are some limitations with Pandoc, but mostly it’s remarkably good at converting things.

It seems that DocBookExport, and any other MediaWiki export or format conversion system, works best when the wiki pages (and their templates etc.) are written with the output formats in mind. Then, one can avoid things such as web-only formatting conventions that make PDF (or epub, or man page) generation trickier.