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Old 03-12-2006, 08:14 AM   #1
carcassonne
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Registered: Jul 2005
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Tools and methods to write a book


Hello,

Does anyone know the procedure to follow to write a book using Linux ? By that I mean what tools to use to create the content of the book, what methods to adopt to keep as much as possible the content separate from an eventual non-professional presentation and what formats to support for an eventual interaction with a publisher ?

One could write a whole book in Open Office I guess. Or using Scribus. But I kind of resent, intuitively, the use of a large software like OO or Scribus to keep all text, pictures, references and presentation in a single huge file. Not to mention ease of use when there are 250 pages with pcitures loaded.

The book will be a book with many examples and eventual pictures, so it'd be nice to be able to change reference text or prictures quickly, then run a command to assemble the book or chapter. The text could be kept separately in a (perhaps plain text) file, while examples and pictures could be kept in some sort of database while the presentation templates could be made without actual content using Scribus or some other tool, just be specifying the place for text and pictures. And then, using one or two commands the various pieces (text, pcitures, references, etc...) would be picked up and assembled following the chosen presentation and file format. Some kind of a document or database could hold the relation to all the pieces and feed them in sequence to a presentation template. Like this, a quick update of a few words in a section would only need to start a text editor (such as emacs) to make the change - without loading tons of fonts, pictures and what have you.

Has anyone got experience with such a process or know about web pages explaining methods on how to do this ? Any suggestions appreciated !

Cheers !
 
Old 03-12-2006, 09:43 AM   #2
Lsatenstein
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Since you asked for experience, let me just indicate what I was able to do with MS word. Since then I use OO but it is applicable as well.

When a document is going to be large, as you profess yours to be, then use the master document, chapter include method. All WPs allow links to permit you to write and main a chapter or section as a separate file.

If this approach is not satisfactory, check out latex, or even contact a publisher and see what they recommend.
 
Old 03-12-2006, 12:13 PM   #3
carcassonne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lsatenstein
Since you asked for experience, let me just indicate what I was able to do with MS word. Since then I use OO but it is applicable as well. When a document is going to be large, as you profess yours to be, then use the master document, chapter include method. All WPs allow links to permit you to write and main a chapter or section as a separate file.
Yes, I know, but then one of the other goal (which I didn't metion but only hinted at) is that then the whole text is more or less limited to be read by OO. Of course, it is possible to 'Export As...' and stuff like that, but it's another step in the chain that possibly could bring problems.

I'd like to keep all components as close as possible to their orginal formats. Text in a regular ASCII text file, jpeg picture in a jpeg file (not embedded inside an OO page for instance), etc...

Quote:
If this approach is not satisfactory, check out latex, or even contact a publisher and see what they recommend.
Could be way too early to contact a publisher. And that would be only be one. Maybe they do not all use the same setup. Best is to start as flexible as possible. Latex could be something worthwhile. I know nothing about it but have read some things here and there saying that it's good to organize pages, i.e placement of text, pictures. Maybe it's possible to then make a Latex template with placeholders and then by using the Template Tools (Perl) the document could be assembled whne needed.

I could keep all components in a SQLite database.

Hey, I could turn that into a framework if it works ;-)

Thanks for the input.
 
  


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