4.5 (June 2006),
DocBook is a semantic markup language for technical documentation. It was originally intended for writing technical documents related to computer hardware and software but it can be used for any other sort of documentation.
As a semantic language, DocBook enables its users to create document content in a presentation-neutral form that captures the logical structure of the content; that content can then be published in a variety of formats, including HTML, XHTML, EPUB, PDF, man pages and HTML Help, without requiring users to make any changes to the source.
DocBook is an XML language. In its current version (5.0), DocBook's language is formally defined by a RELAX NG schema with integrated Schematron rules. (There are also W3C XML Schema+Schematron and Document Type Definition (DTD) versions of the schema available, but these are considered non-standard.)
As a semantic language, DocBook documents do not describe what their contents "look like," but rather the meaning of those contents. For example, rather than explaining how the abstract for an article might be visually formatted, DocBook simply says that a particular section is an abstract. It is up to an external processing tool or application to decide where on a page the abstract should go and what it should look like. (And, indeed, to decide whether or not it should be included in the final output at all.)
DocBook provides a vast number of semantic element tags. They are divided into three broad categories: structural, block-level, and inline.
Structural tags specify broad characteristics of their contents. The book element, for example, specifies that its child elements represent the parts of a book. This includes a title, chapters, glossaries, appendices, and so on. DocBook's structural tags include, but are not limited to:
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