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Document Migration and Processing


Dear UMTF working group,

I am, as I told you previously, very happy with the SP2 and have therefore even some confidence in a move to Unix over the next 5 years or so.

I cannot think of many VM things which are not available on the SP2, except perhaps SGML. At the moment one moves from VM/CMS to its ancestor, Unix, it may seem also logical to go from SGML to its ancestor, TeX. But I don't like TeX at all, and am very happy with SGML and would like to continue to use it. Is some kind of publicly accessible SGML foreseen? BookMaster/SGML is presumably available for the SP2, but I would also be happy with another good quality product.

Rob Veenhof

Another user raised the same question, in a more general form:

How to process SGML documents on Unix? ...and to obtain a PostScript file as a formatted output?

Peter Gorbunov, PPE

Dear Mr Veenhof:

I am afraid the answer will not be fully satisfactory to you. We publicised an article related to document migration in the last CNL issue (221 - section 1.6 ``Migration out of Central Printing''). As you will see no SGML standard is foreseen to be supported except for the basic HTML (which probably will not make you happy).

See this article for all possible alternatives, which include, but are not limited to, LaTeX, Word or Framemaker.

M.Marquina, CN/DCI (User Support).

Remarks from the text processing ``expert'', as a complement of information:

``SGML'' is like ``Fortran'', it is a language, not a system. If the question was ``how will I be able to run my BookMaster documents on Unix'', then the only answer is ``impossible''.

On Unix, several ways exist to use SGML on top of products like FrameMaker and Word, but, as commercial products, they cost money. There is also an excellent public domain product called sgmls (or nsgml), which is a full SGML parser, for which you would have to write ``style files'' to get your documents printed.

On the other hand, HTML being a simple SGML application, if you are happy with its functionality, then you can also use it as markup language. Therefore your document will be immediately available on the Web, and you can obtain a more or less ``acceptable'' an output in PostScript. However, we are aware that the PostScript formatting is not very good and together with a technical student I am trying to develop ways to solve that problem.

In any case, as Miguel pointed out above, in the previous CNL (221) we have listed migration paths for various kinds of documents. I can thus only repeat that for a document containing a lot of mathematics LaTeX is a good choice and can be used in a generic way close to what you did with SGML. For other documents, you might prefer FrameMaker or Word. BookMaster is NOT available on SP2, since IBM themselves now use Interleaf (another commercial product) for their documentation.

As a short conclusion I would say:

Michel Goossens CN/ASD

next up previous
Next: General Up: Letters from/to the Editor Previous: Migration Special - Mail

Michel Goossens
CN Division
Tel. 3363
Wed Mar 13 07:42:40 MET 1996