After writing gobs of documents over the past year with AsciiDoc, I was strongly motivated to make that work as I embark on writing Learning Spring Boot.
Writing a book with a word processor is one thing if you’re talking about a trade novel. That format is nothing but words, words, and more words. But for a technical book, we have a different medium. There are words, code listings, inline code fragments, console outputs, screen shots and more. This is more like a reference manual or blog posting that is targeted for print. And that is something AsciiDoc was made for.
I googled around and found a nifty backend that let you output from AsciiDoc straight into ODT. The gulf I needed to bridge was incorporating Packt’s styles. Packt has a template document that has all their styles. Thankfully they support OpenOffice. I was able to open their stylesheet and save it a Flat ODT (i.e. flat XML document). Then I wrote a Spring Boot CLI script to extract all of their styles (but not the sample text) and dump them into an AsiiiDoc format file. With some tweaks to packt.conf, I managed to crank out a nicely formatted OpenOffice doc from my raw manuscript!
Click on the images on this blog post, and you can see the original AsciiDoc as well the auto-generated LibreOffice document. (Note how the ODT document is in the middle of a bullet point listing, and the type in the top left corner reads Bullet [PACKT].)
If you’re interested, you can experiment with it as well! Just visit https://github.com/gregturn/asciidoc-packt. If you have tips on how to improve this, feel free to submit pull requests.
NOTE: This is at the bottom of my list of things to manage, so unless your patch is super simple or solves an immediate problem I’m having, don’t assume instant response.