The book thoroughly covers just about every possible aspect of
DocBook publishing (that is, generating HTML, PDF, HTML Help, man
pages, etc. from your DocBook XML source) -- from general tool
setup down to the level of stuff like fine-tuning content of
headers and footers, title pages, cross-references, indexes, etc.
I have reviewed and used it a lot, and tried hard to come up with
suggestions for Bob for topics that should be added to it. But I
rarely manage to find anything that it doesn't already cover. When
I have a DocBook publishing question, I can almost always find the
answer in this book.
And if you're not familiar with the author, here are some details:
in the DocBook world, Bob is basically "The DocBook Answer Man" --
he is the most active contributor to discussions on the
docbook-apps mailing list (where DocBook publishing and tools
discussion takes place) -- patiently answering "How do I..."
questions posted by new users and following up on DocBook XSLT
stylesheet bug reports.
He's also a member of the DocBook Technical Committee, responsible
for overseeing refinements to the DocBook vocabulary, and he's a
major contributor to development of the actual DocBook XSL
Which is all a roundabout way of saying that this guy knows his
stuff, and in buying and using this book, you'll be benefitting
from a wealth of knowledge and experience with DocBook that you'll
not find anywhere else.
Beware: this is a book for people who are already very well versed in docbook in general, and in XSL in particular.
One does wish the author would have offered ant versions of his scripts as well as Make versions. But that's a matter of taste.
Last year, I had the pleasure of implementing docbook for a large company down in Oklahoma. However, I didn't know much about XSL at the time or for that matter docbook; other than how to markup documents and make changes to the DTD. In other words I was a rookie. I had two tools at my disposal; the definative guide and docbook documentation. Any developer would understand what a rookie who is trying to muddle through docbook documentation is trying to go through..... I had a bit of consulting from Arbortext but other than that I was on my own. The definitive guide has very little information on publishing XML information and barely even mentions XSL. Thus, my modifications consisted of looking at existing code and attempting a patch job. Even with the training I'd had on XSLT it did not help me to find files that I didn't know existed. This book solves that problem and gets you off the ground running.
While the book is NOT a tututorial on XSL is does give a brief overview on the subject. This book talks about implementing XSL in a docbook environment as there are plenty of books in the market that teach you how to code XSL. An understanding of XML is expected and knowledge of docbook is certainly helpful. Topics covered include how to find docbooks XSL stylesheets (or obtain them for free, if you don't already have them)and tells you how to set them up, customize them for your environment, use special stylesheet output features and work with docbook options.
In short, if you need to learn how to implement XSL in a docbook environment; get this book in your hands and don't let it go. It's too valuable a commodity!