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Publican is a tool for publishing material authored in DocBook XML. This guide explains how to create and build books and articles using Publican. It is not a general DocBook XML tutorial; refer to DocBook: The Definitive Guide by Norman Walsh and Leonard Muellner, available at for more general help with DocBook XML.
Publican began life as an internal tool used by Red Hat's Documentation Group (now known as Engineering Content Services). On occasion, this legacy is visible.
Publican is a publication system, not just a DocBook processing tool. As well as ensuring your DocBook XML is valid, Publican works to ensure your XML is up to publishable standard.
The branding functionality allows you to create your own presentation rules and look, overriding many parts of the default style to meet your publishing needs. Choices executed in code, however, are not changeable.
Entities, for example, can be validly defined in any XML file. However, to ensure the DTD declaration is present, valid and standardized, Publican rewrites the declaration in every XML file before it builds a book or article. Consequently, all entities declared in all XML files are lost. Publican, therefore, requires you define entities in the Doc_Name.ent file (refer to Section 4.1.6, “Doc_Name.ent”).
As publishing workflows grow, unrestrained entity definition leads to entity duplication and other practices that cause maintenance difficulties. Consolidating entity definitions in a single, predictable place alleviates these maintenance issues and helps the automation of the build process stay robust.
Entities also present an essentially insurmountable obstacle to quality translation (refer to Section, “Entities and translation”). Consequently, while we are not reducing the Doc_Name.ent file's functionality, we are no longer considering requests to add functionality or features associated with entity use.