Using Liferay Portal PDF is now available!
Staff Blogs February 20, 2013 By Richard Sezov Staff
One of the benefits of moving our documentation out of LibreOffice and into Markdown is that Markdown converts to many publishable formats. We're already converting it into Liferay web content for display on the web site. I had always planned to publish also in PDF and print format, and up until recently, I intended to use the open source DTP program Scribus to do so. Those of you who attended the talk that Jim Hinkey and I did at the NA Symposium know this, as it was actually a part of the slides.
I spent some time attempting to create the book layout in Scribus. While Scribus is a great program, it has limitations with our workflow, some of which are not Scribus's fault, and some of which are. The biggest issue I had was that none of the images would import into Scribus with the text. I had to do them all manually and re-add all the captions. I spent about two or three weeks doing this.
Suffice it to say that I soon realized I needed to find another tool, or I'd probably be finishing the book layout sometime this summer. The conversion tool we use for our Markdown--Pandoc--also supports LaTeX, a type-setting tool that's been around for a long time, and something that Darren, a college professor friend of mine I haven't seen in many years, tried to get me into, oh, about 15 or so years ago. I've avoided it all these years in favor of various systems that gave me a WYSIWYG view into my documents.
Well, in this case, LaTeX saved the day, and I haven't seen Darren in so long that maybe he won't even have the opportunity to say "I told you so."
The conversion to LaTeX preserved all the images, along with their captions. Combined with
xelatex, the Memoir class, and lots of hand-massaging of the file (which we'll automate next time), we now have a PDF, almost suitable for
publishing, and which we've made available as a download on the Documentation page. It just needs an index at this point, which is something we're working on.
Next up: print, epub, and Kindle formats. Stay tuned!