Writing for DocBook using the wiki

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* [[DocsProject| Fedora Documentation Project]]
* [[DocsProject| Fedora Documentation Project]]
[[Category:Docs Project]]
[[Category:How to]]

Latest revision as of 19:48, 21 November 2009

This page describes specific issues with using the Wiki to write tutorials or chapters for larger works of documentation intended for publication, such as Docs.

The main purpose of the additional guidelines provided here is to help ensure that it is easy for your draft documents to be converted into DocBook. The Fedora Project uses DocBook for master copies of documentation.

Wiki markup may be different here. This is because of discoveries about how the Wiki converts to XML. We are constantly updating accepted markup practices for areas of the Wiki such as Category:Draft Documentation and Docs. We try to push the changes into WikiEditing#Marking_Technical_Terms. Exceptions are sometimes made, they usually occur when the Wiki markup follows style but makes very ugly XML.

Working with a draft document:


[edit] Golden Rule

Treat other people's documents as you would have them treat your own.

Just like with CVS access, anyone in the DocWritersGroup has full access to edit anything in the Docs/ tree. If you are going to do anything major to another writer's document, check with him/her first.

[edit] Create Each Page with the Full Name

To create a page, type in the address of the page to be created, for example


This creates the page http://www.fedoraproject.org/wiki/My_New_Page. This is a different page to MyNewPage, and MediaWiki does not relate the two in any way.

For the same reason, you must always use the full name of your page when creating links to it from elsewhere in this Wiki.

To create draft documentation for the Documentation Project, add it to Category:Draft documentation by putting the text [[Category:Draft_documentation]] at the bottom of the page.

If you wish to use this Wiki to draft documentation for general release, e-mail the Documentation Project mailing list to be added to the DocsWritersGroup.

[edit] Use One Wiki Page per Chapter or Tutorial

Each Wiki page will become a single XML file when exported to DocBook. Our DocBook usage is this:

  • One book = one parent file that calls in all prefaces, chapters, and appendixes
  • One chapter = one file
  • One section = one <section> within a file
  • One article/tutorial = one file containing one or more sections

To follow this example in the Wiki:

  • One book = one parent Wiki page that is a Table of Contents of all the chapter pages
  • One chapter = one Wiki page, with one or more sections
  • One section = one part of a Wiki page marked by the = = , == ==, etc. around the title
  • One article/tutorial = one Wiki page containing one or more sections.

For example:

  • SELinux HowTo -- the book has a table of contents
  • SELinux HowTo - Writing Policy -- a chapter within the book

For drafts, put them in your personal sandbox, for example:

  • User:Magnusg/SELinux Howto - Neat Stuff

[edit] Start with a Summary

Start the main page of the document with a summary block. The summary block provides basic information about the document to readers and potential contributors. The summary remains constant even as the contents of the document change. Filling in the summary block also helps you, by clarifying the scope and purpose of your document.

Summary Blocks are for draft purposes only.
The Summary Block is removed from final documents. It exists on draft documents to assist authors and reviewers working with incomplete documents.

Select the Show Raw Text option from the More Actions drop-down list on the sidebar, and copy all of the text between the START and END lines to the top of your document.

Fill in the summary block with the details of your document. See the summary blocks of existing draft documentation for examples.


Warning (medium size).png

Documentation Summary:




Related Documents:

Lead Writer:


Here are explanations of each section:

Purpose: A brief summary of what the document explains or describes.

Audience: The people that you expect will benefit from reading the document. Describe their circumstances, rather than attempting to categorise them. "Users who wish to run a Web server on their Fedora system" is a good audience description, "administrators" or "developers" are too vague.

Assumptions: Specify the initial conditions of the system, and any prerequisites for the reader. You should always assume a default Fedora installation (specify the relevant installation types - Desktop, Workstation, Server), and describe how to install any additional software required in the document itself. The other important assumption to specify is the state of the account that the reader has on the system - in most cases the correct assumption is that the reader has an account with the default settings. Always specify if the reader requires the root password for the system.

Related Documents: Other documents on this Wiki or published on the Web that you think are relevant to your document. In particular, list related Fedora Documentation Project and Linux Documentation Project documents that you are aware of. This section helps to minimise duplication of effort, as well as providing a useful set of references.

Lead Writer: Your Wiki UserName. Any writer can make small amendments to the document, but large changes should always be discussed with the lead writer.

All of the summary items will change and grow as the document develops - you should fill in each item as best you can initially, and amend them whenever you think it necessary.

[edit] Subscribe to your Page

Remember to subscribe to your pages. By subscribing to your page, you receive an e-mail each time that any other person updates your page.

To subscribe to a page, click the Subscribe link on the sidebar.

[edit] Use Sections

Sections, like this one, and sub-sections, are easy to convert to sections in DocBook. Use them freely. For larger documents, create a page under the main page for each chapter or section.

The top heading for the document uses two sets of equal signs. Each section heading uses three sets of equal signs. Heading for any subsections use four sets of equal signs.

== Document Heading ==
=== Section Heading ===
==== Subsection Heading ====
Empty sections should be avoided.

[edit] All Links Must be Complete URLs

Normal Wiki pages convert WikiNames into valid links. Once a Wiki page has been exported to DocBook these links become invalid. For this reason, write all links to other pages and websites in your documents as external links - with a complete URL on a separate line from the main text.

For example, write links to the ["FAQ"] on this Wiki as:

[edit] Follow the Style Guidelines

The Fedora Documentation Guide provides a chapter on good writing style:

These guidelines not only benefit your readers directly, but they also assist collaborators, editors, and the translators that convert the original documents into other languages.

[edit] Exceptions to Wiki Markup Rules

  • Do not indent admonitions
  • Do not indent code blocks
  • Do not indent tables (admonitions)

[edit] Further Information