4.3. Document-Specific Information

This section contains specific notes about particular documents managed by the FDP.

4.3.1. The Handbook


The Handbook is written in DocBook XML using the FreeBSD DocBook extended DTD.

The Handbook is organized as a DocBook book. The book is divided into parts, each of which contains several chapters. chapters are further subdivided into sections (sect1) and subsections (sect2, sect3) and so on. Physical Organization

There are a number of files and directories within the handbook directory.


The Handbook's organization may change over time, and this document may lag in detailing the organizational changes. Post questions about Handbook organization to the FreeBSD documentation project mailing list. Makefile

The Makefile defines some variables that affect how the XML source is converted to other formats, and lists the various source files that make up the Handbook. It then includes the standard doc.project.mk, to bring in the rest of the code that handles converting documents from one format to another. book.xml

This is the top level document in the Handbook. It contains the Handbook's DOCTYPE declaration, as well as the elements that describe the Handbook's structure.

book.xml uses parameter entities to load in the files with the .ent extension. These files (described later) then define general entities that are used throughout the rest of the Handbook. directory/chapter.xml

Each chapter in the Handbook is stored in a file called chapter.xml in a separate directory from the other chapters. Each directory is named after the value of the id attribute on the chapter element.

For example, if one of the chapter files contains:

<chapter id="kernelconfig">

Then it will be called chapter.xml in the kernelconfig directory. In general, the entire contents of the chapter are in this one file.

When the XHTML version of the Handbook is produced, this will yield kernelconfig.html. This is because of the id value, and is not related to the name of the directory.

In earlier versions of the Handbook, the files were stored in the same directory as book.xml, and named after the value of the id attribute on the file's chapter element. Now, it is possible to include images in each chapter. Images for each Handbook chapter are stored within share/images/books/handbook. The localized version of these images should be placed in the same directory as the XML sources for each chapter. Namespace collisions are inevitable, and it is easier to work with several directories with a few files in them than it is to work with one directory that has many files in it.

A brief look will show that there are many directories with individual chapter.xml files, including basics/chapter.xml, introduction/chapter.xml, and printing/chapter.xml.


Do not name chapters or directories after their ordering within the Handbook. This ordering can change as the content within the Handbook is reorganized. Reorganization should be possible without renaming files, unless entire chapters are being promoted or demoted within the hierarchy.

The chapter.xml files are not complete XML documents that can be built individually. They can only be built as parts of the whole Handbook.

All FreeBSD documents are available for download at https://download.freebsd.org/ftp/doc/

Questions that are not answered by the documentation may be sent to <freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.org>.
Send questions about this document to <freebsd-doc@FreeBSD.org>.