The Simplified DocBook Document Type

Committee Specification 1.0, 19 Nov 2002

Document identifier:

cs-docbook-simple-1.0 (XML, HTML, PDF)



Norman Walsh, Sun Microsystems, Inc. <Norman.Walsh@Sun.COM>


Simplified DocBook is a subset of DocBook XML V4.2. It is a a general purpose XML document type suited to articles about computer hardware and software (though it is by no means limited to these applications).


This is a working draft constructed by the editor. It is not an official committee work product and may not reflect the consensus opinion of the committee.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Terminology
3. The Simplified DocBook Document Type V1.0
3.1. Usage
4. Changes in Simplified DocBook V1.0
5. Changes in Simplified DocBook V1.0CR3
5.1. Enhancements
6. Changes in Simplified DocBook V1.0CR2
6.1. Bug Fixes
7. Changes in Simplified DocBook V1.0CR1
7.1. Bug Fixes
8. Release Notes


A. OASIS DocBook Technical Committee (Non-Normative)
B. Notices
C. Intellectual Property Rights
D. Revision History

1. Introduction

DocBook is general purpose document type particularly well suited to books and papers about computer hardware and software (though it is by no means limited to these applications).

Simplified DocBook is an attempt to provide a proper subset of DocBook that is simultaneously smaller and still useful. Its original genesis was a desire to make "the HTML subset of DocBook," that is, a subset that had roughly as many tags as HTML and roughly the same descriptive power.

The DocBook Technical Committee maintains the Simplified DocBook schema. Simplified DocBook is officially available as an [XML] Document Type Definition (DTD).

The Version 1.0 release is the first official release from the DocBook Technical Committee.

The DocBook Technical Committee welcomes bug reports and requests for enhancement (RFEs) from the user community. The current list of outstanding requests is available through the SourceForge tracker interface. This is also the preferred mechanism for submitting new requests. Old RFEs, from a previous legacy tracking system, are archived for reference.

2. Terminology

The key words must, must not, required, shall, shall not, should, should not, recommended, may, and optional in this Committee Specification are to be interpreted as described in [RFC 2119]. Note that for reasons of style, these words are not capitalized in this document.

3. The Simplified DocBook Document Type V1.0

The Simplified DocBook document type is a subset of [DocBook V4.2]. It is distributed from the DocBook site at OASIS.

3.1. Usage

To use this document type, specify the public and system identifiers in your document type declaration. For example:

<!DOCTYPE article PUBLIC "-//OASIS//DTD Simplified DocBook XML V1.0//EN"

Naturally, you can include an internal subset if you wish.

To incorporate this module into a higher-level customization layer, use the public and system identifiers of this module's customization layer in your own. For example:

<!DOCTYPE % sdocbook PUBLIC "-//OASIS//DTD Simplified DocBook XML Customization V1.0//EN"

4. Changes in Simplified DocBook V1.0

The version numbers were updated. No significant changes were made from CR3.

5. Changes in Simplified DocBook V1.0CR3

This release updates Simplified DocBook to be a customization of DocBook XML V4.2. All of the changes in this release are a consequence of the transition to DocBook XML V4.2; no substantive changes have been made to Simplified DocBook directly.

Each of the changes made between V1.0CR2 and V1.0CR3 is summarized here.

5.1. Enhancements

  • Added SVG notation.

  • Allow textobject as a peer of the other objects in mediaobject.

  • Added literallayout to epigraph.

  • Added textdata element.


In most cases, where DocBook XML V4.2 allows new elements (for example personname and co), Simplified DocBook still uses the former, more restrictive content models.

6. Changes in Simplified DocBook V1.0CR2

This release fixes a bug in CR1.

Each of the changes made between V1.0CR1 and V1.0CR2 is summarized here.

6.1. Bug Fixes

  • The name of the footnoteref element was misspelled in the declaration of The %xref.char.class;.

  • The DTD was incorrectly identified as 1.0b2 in several internal comments.

7. Changes in Simplified DocBook V1.0CR1

This release fixes several DocBook incompatibilities.

Each of the changes made between V1.0b2 and V1.0CR1 is summarized here.

7.1. Bug Fixes

  • The footnoteref and xref elements were moved back into the %xref.char.class;. The %xref.char.class; was added to several other parameter entities.

  • The full CALS Table Model was selected instead of the XML Exchange Table Model.

  • The incorrect and unnecessary redefinition of the systemitem element was removed.

8. Release Notes


A. OASIS DocBook Technical Committee (Non-Normative)

The following individuals were members of the committee during the formulation of this Committee Specification:

  • Dennis Evans

  • Paul Grosso

  • Dick Hamilton

  • Nancy (Paisner) Harrison

  • Sabine Ocker

  • Michael Sabrio

  • Michael Smith

  • Norman Walsh (Chair, Editor)

B. Notices

Copyright © 2001, 2002 OASIS Open, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

OASIS takes no position regarding the validity or scope of any intellectual property or other rights that might be claimed to pertain to the implementation or use of the technology described in this document or the extent to which any license under such rights might or might not be available; neither does it represent that it has made any effort to identify any such rights. Information on OASIS's procedures with respect to rights in OASIS specifications can be found at the OASIS website. Copies of claims of rights made available for publication and any assurances of licenses to be made available, or the result of an attempt made to obtain a general license or permission for the use of such proprietary rights by implementors or users of this specification, can be obtained from the OASIS Executive Director.

OASIS invites any interested party to bring to its attention any copyrights, patents or patent applications, or other proprietary rights which may cover technology that may be required to implement this specification. Please address the information to the OASIS Executive Director.

This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are included on all such copies and derivative works. However, this document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by removing the copyright notice or references to OASIS, except as needed for the purpose of developing OASIS specifications, in which case the procedures for copyrights defined in the OASIS Intellectual Property Rights document must be followed, or as required to translate it into languages other than English.

The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be revoked by OASIS or its successors or assigns.


OASIS has been notified of intellectual property rights claimed in regard to some or all of the contents of this specification. For more information consult the online list of claimed rights.

C. Intellectual Property Rights

For information on wether any patents have been disclosed that may be essential to implementing this specification, and any offers of patent licensing terms, please refer to the Intellectual Property Rights section of the DocBook web page (

D. Revision History

Revision 1.019 Nov 2002
Revision 1.0-CR312 Sep 2002
Revision 1.0-CR212 Jun 2002
Revision 1.0-CR105 Jun 2002
Revision 1.0b208 Jan 2002



[XML] Tim Bray, Jean Paoli, C. M. Sperberg-McQueen, and Eve Maler, editors. Extensible Markup Language (XML) 1.0 Second Edition. World Wide Web Consortium, 2000.

[RFC 2119] IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force). RFC 2119: Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels. S. Bradner. 1997.

[DocBook V4.2] Norman Walsh, editor. The DocBook Document Type: Version 4.2. OASIS, 2002.