OASIS, the international standards consortium, announced that its members have approved DocBook version 4.5 (PDF) as an OASIS Standard, a status that signifies the highest level of ratification. Widely adopted by technical writers since its introduction in 1991, DocBook provides an XML markup vocabulary for authoring and exchange of prose content, especially technical documentation.

“DocBook enables you to author and store documents in a presentation-neutral form that captures the logical structure and semantics of the content,” explained Norman Walsh of Sun Microsystems, chair of the OASIS DocBook Technical Committee. “With DocBook, you can transform and publish content in HTML, PDF, RTF, and many other formats. There have been lots of improvements, both large and small, since the last OASIS Standard version of DocBook, among them: new inline elements for finer control over content, improvements in internationalization and accessibility, support for HTML tables, more support for mathematics, and more generally available metadata.”

DocBook allows authors to concentrate on the organization and meaning of their text without concern for how their final documents will appear. Presentation issues are handled separately by style sheets. DocBook’s modular organization allows the document’s metadata to be easily customized by the user. It defines a large body of tags to accommodate a wide range of applications and expectations.

Learn more about approved DocBook version 4.5.