The user manual is written in XML DocBook format, version 4.4. It uses the official DocBook XSL stylesheets, and will build with versions at least as far back as 1.69.1. (Why these versions? They're what comes with CentOS 5, the oldest system I still build this manual on.)

To make the HTML version of the user manual, just type make or make html in this directory. To make the PDF version of the manual, say make pdf. To make both versions, say make all.

The most likely cause of build failures is not having the right processing programs installed. The DocBook processing model looks like this:

DocBook --> [XSLT proc.] --+--> HTML
                 ^         |
                 |         +--> XSL-FO --> [XSL-FO proc.] --> PDF
         [XSL stylesheets]

"DocBook" above is a file in DocBook XML format. It's userman.dbx in the case of the MySQL++ User Manual.

Interchangeable Elements

There are many alternatives for the elements in the square brackets:

XSLT Processor

The first replaceable piece is an XSLT processor, which translates XML into other text formats, such as HTML or other varieties of XML. We use xsltproc from the Gnome project. There are several other widely available XSLT processors, but because we use some nonstandard extensions to XSLT — primarily XIncludes — not all XSLT processors function as drop-in replacements.

We use the XSLT processor to do two transforms. One is directly to HTML. The other is to XSL-FO, an XML-based page layout language. This brings us to...

XSL-FO Processor

The second replaceable piece in the diagram above is an XSL-FO processor, which converts XSL-FO to a more directly useful page layout format, like PDF. The user manual's build system supports several alternatives.

The build system relies on a simple script in this directory — fo2pdf — to find an XSL-FO formatter and run it. It looks first for RenderX XEP, which comes in a free-as-in-kitten version for personal use. If you're in a commercial environment, RenderX wants you to use their commercial trial version which will format this manual without complaint, but it puts watermarks and blank pages into the output. As of May 2019, they want $400 for the single-user to get clean output. It's the same as the free personal version, just with a different license. You don't need the higher-end versions of XEP; they don't do anything we need here.

If fo2pdf can't find XEP, it then looks for Antenna House XSL Formatter. It's pretty much the same deal as XEP: crippled demo version for testing, and a single-user “Lite” version for $400. There is no free version for personal use, however.

Failing all that, fo2pdf falls back to the only free-as-in-liberty XSL-FO formatter, Apache FOP. FOP may be available through your OS's package system. For instance, with Debian type OSes, you can just say

$ sudo apt install fop

and on RHEL/CentOS through version 7:

$ sudo yum install fop

That command also works in Fedora as of this writing. Since fop hasn’t been removed from Fedora, I suspect this package is moving to EPEL for use in EL8, and it just waiting for someone to get around to doing the port. Meanwhile, rebuilding Fedora’s package on your OS should work.

If FOP is not in your OS's package system, you can download pre-built binaries from the FOP web site that will run with the version of Java that almost certainly is available with your OS's package system.

You might be wondering why fo2pdf looks for FOP last, given that MySQL++ is itself free software and relies on a lot of other free software. It's just that it's a good bet that if there's a commercial processor on the system, it was put there quite purposefully by someone who went out of their way to make it available on that system, and so wants it to be used. The commercial vendors can still get money for their products because FOP hasn't caught up with them in several important areas. That said, don't feel that you need to go and buy an XSL-FO processor just to build the manuals. We try to always keep the manual in a state where FOP can generate adequate output.

DocBook XSL Stylesheets

The third replaceable piece above is the DocBook XSL stylesheet set. The stylesheets are the XSLT processor's rules, controlling how the input XML gets transformed to the output format. The standard DocBook stylesheet set includes stylesheets for HTML and XSL-FO output. The default behavior of xsltproc is look for these first on your local system, and then if it fails to find them, tries to download them on the fly from the Internet. Because this slows processing quite a bit even if you have a fast Internet connection, we've disabled this feature of xsltproc, so you must have the DocBook XSL stylesheets locally installed to build the user manual.

Most Unixy type systems have pre-built DocBook XSL stylesheet packages available:

Please send the name of the package for your system to the forum if it isn't listed above, and I'll add it to the list.

If you can't find a package for your system, you can get the DocBook stylesheets from the source. They're a bit tricky to set up correctly, so it's better to use a pre-built package if you can.

If you are still having problems, post the details about it to the MySQL++ forum, and I'll try to help you debug the problem. You might also find the FOP and/or DocBook mailing lists helpful.

Hacking on the Manual

If you're looking to hack on the manual, here are some helpful resources for getting up to speed on DocBook: