Without going into too much extraneous detail, currently our product manual is produced using some proprietary WYSIWYG editor, which has a bunch of limitations. I'm considering producing the manual using
pdfLaTeX instead. The main motivation for this is so we can put the copy in source control. (You can't do that when your document is just a binary blob.)
Doing this is going to require a whole heap of work, so before I even start this I have to ask: Is LaTeX the correct tool for the job? Or would I be better off some other document technology? (E.g., DocBook ⇒ XSLT ⇒ XML-FO ⇒ PDF or something.)
We want our product manual to look like a trendy article in a glossy magazine, and our graphics department have done an excellent job of achieving that look. Obviously management won't accept anything that looks worse than what we already have.
LaTeX is of course excellent at producing really professional-looking academic publications. But to our target audience, that just looks "scary". We don't want customers thinking you need a PhD to understand our software. Hence the current manual has huge sans-serif fonts, liberal splashes of colour, and varying page layouts to make it not look like a "wall of text". And, being a software manual, it has a lot of screenshots (frequently featuring complicated call-outs with arrows).
I have no doubt that if you put enough experts in a room and hit it hard enough, you can probably make TeX render just about anything. But something being possible isn't the same as being easy. And saying that TeX can do something isn't the same as saying it's the best tool for the job &mdash or even the right tool for the job.
So what do we think, folks? Is TeX a good tool for this, or is there something else out there that's likely to be a better fit?