Help needed with Paligo


#1

Good day all! Nick here.

I don’t know if anyone here knows Paligo, or how well, but I’m struggling with an issue that wouldn’t be an issue if I were fortunate enough to be able to use MS Word.

If I want to centre a Figure image on a page in Paligo, I click the image to highlight the Imagedata element, then add the align attribute and choose the ‘Center’ option.
This works for the image only. The figure title has no align-attribute option.

So, my question is: how do I get the figure title to centre underneath the image?
Call me pig-headed if you will, but I have zero interest in fooling with the XML code directly.
Why? You ask. Because I’m a technical writer, not a software developer. Think about it. If I’d wanted to learn how to code, I could have boxed far more clever and learned to program in Java.

In my opinion, *.XML-based editors are more trouble than they’re worth. I’ve had to say goodbye to ease of use, quick reference between sections of a large document, and because I work in a third-world country with sub-standard internet connectivity, I can forget about working if there are bandwidth issues.
I’m sitting here writing this on a Sunday afternoon, with no idea of how to fix something that would not be an issue in Word. This manual’s taken three weeks to get to first-draft stage. If I’d been allowed to write it in Word, I could have gotten to a release version in two.
If you’ve read this far, thank you for listening. It’s been a long time coming.


#2

Under the covers, Paligo is Docbook. The point of Docbook is to separate content from formatting. The alignment of figure captions is formatting, so there is no way to specify it in the text you are writing. (That there is a way to specify it for the picture itself is, well, just an oddity of DocBook.)

The alignment of the figure title element will be determined by the formatting stylesheet that is applied to the content for publishing. You don’t have to change the underlying XML to change it, and there should not be any way to do that. You have to change the stylesheet.

This is actually very similar to how Word works if you use styles in Word. The difference is that Word allows you to override the formatting of a style (every paragraph in Word has an assigned style) on an individual basis and DocBook does not.

The idea is that with DocBook (and with Paligo, and with any other form of structured writing) you take the responsibility for making the title centered away from the writer and to assign it to the stylesheet designer. This simplifies life for the writer and ensures uniform formatting of documents. If you are working alone, you may be both of these people, but the roles remain distinct.

For very small projects, this separation of roles may not make much sense. You probably haven’t worked out a plan for the formatting of all documents. You are just trying to make one document ad hoc. On large projects, however, it is essential to creating an efficient and reliable process.