Nov 15, 2008 / writing
What do you use for authoring articles, documents and books?

Whilst editing NHibernate in Action, I've clocked up about 300 hours using Microsoft Word. Right now, my opinion is that this is not a great tool for book authoring.

Manning Press use one document per chapter, which makes sense because chapters seem to be the logical unit of work in a publishing workflow. However, when you want to quickly generate a Table of Contents, or see the index for the book, you have to start using word trickery (sub documents etc). Manning don't use any of those features, probably because they require lots of word skillz for all involved, and is error prone.

What surprises me is that Manning didn't ask me to work with some purpose built, advanced book authoring software that fits the publishing workflow perfectly. Does such a tool exist?

Martin Fowler writes some very interesting stuff about how he uses XML for authoring. PoEAA was the first book he tried this on. Sounds like managed to get a lot of leverage from this approach, although he did have to essentially devise his own tool chain.

Would be great if anyone can share their thoughts on this. Are there any authoring tools you use and love?

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