How to convert a Dynatext book on CD-Rom to something else ?
March 21, 2007 7:25 AM   Subscribe

How can I convert a Dynatext book (with SGML exporting capabilities) to something that can be viewed on a web server ?

I have a CD-ROM version of a 80's book that uses the DynaText software (from Electronic Book Technologies, Inc.).

My company owns the copyright. I'd like to make it available on the intranet of my company. How can I convert the content to a "web-viewable" format ?

I know that I can export the content in SGML but what can I do next ?

A PDF or html with chaptering would be ideal.
posted by vincentm to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
As you may know, HTML is really just a flavor of SGML; depending on the complexity of the markup, you could possibly just write a few GREP patterns to convert it to HTML. I don't know anything about the SGML that Dynatext would generate, but I'd imagine it shouldn't be too hard to get something minimally functional that way.

Dynatext seems like an orphaned technology—I ran across this page describing it (that company might put you on the trail of other resources), and this interesting mailing-list message comparing HTML to Dynatext (note the author). Sadly, the links given in that message are now 404.
posted by adamrice at 7:42 AM on March 21, 2007

You could use XSLT to convert it to HTML. Or PDF for that matter (Altova's StyleVision claims to do that though I haven't used it; you may need to get it into XML first). Or keep it in SGML and use Framemaker to create a PDF. That would be pretty straightforward (if, of course, you own and know Frame). Also, if you get it into Frame you can convert it to XML for future uses.
posted by sfkiddo at 10:36 AM on March 21, 2007

I was involved in an abortive attempt to create an alternative DynaText browser about four years ago (abortive for organizational reasons, not for technical ones). If you need some help in the conversion, send me some email and I'll dig out that old code and see if it offers any insight. We were trying to mimic a lot of the features of DynaText so there's a lot of crap that you wouldn't need, but I think we were transforming the data on the fly to HTML and displaying it in an IE component. Of course, it wasn't a finished product so the output was a little rough, but the data was there. I might be able to re-purpose it for a one-shot HTML conversion for you if I can find it in my archives.
posted by hackwolf at 4:59 PM on March 21, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for your answers. I'm going to check Framemaker. And Hackwolf, if you find something that might help don't hesitate to contact me (my email should be in my profile).
posted by vincentm at 8:43 AM on March 22, 2007

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