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Re: [wpmac] Re: WordPerfect 3.5e and Publishers Today [long]

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  • Judyth Mermelstein
    ... Thanks for the kind words, and I m sorry to be so late replying: I had no Internet access for a time during the holidays and some fools clogged my e-mail
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 11, 2009
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      >2a. Re: WordPerfect 3.5e and Publishers Today [long]
      > Posted by: "gary.badcock" gary.badcock@... gary.badcock
      > Date: Sat Dec 13, 2008 9:07 pm ((PST))
      >
      >--- In wordperfectmac@yahoogroups.com, Judyth Mermelstein <judyth.mermelstein@...>
      >wrote:
      >
      >[a wonderfully long response to my query and ensuing discussion
      >that included the following]:

      Thanks for the kind words, and I'm sorry to be so late replying: I had no Internet access for a time during the holidays and some fools clogged my e-mail with #$%^& Christmas videos so Yahoo put me on "bounce" and stopped all my list mail. I didn't get to fix that until Monday so I've missed anything interesting that happened after the 25th and haven't had time to catch up.

      >[snip]
      >I am interested in WP basically because it will run on archaic
      >computers, rather than because of its many and varied List
      >functions (which publishers manifestly do not want to see in
      >the files we send them), but the XML reference in Judyth's
      >post startles me, for reasons relating to accessibility and
      >the likely longevity of XML files. I hadn't thought of this
      >before, but (bear with me here), if XML is the future, can
      >I not readily convert to XML format after the writing is done
      >in WordPerfect?

      You certainly could, and no doubt will some day. When I have some free time, I'll have a look at the WP format; however, I expect some of the cleverer people here will beat me to it and know a lot more about creating a really good macro.

      >An import into OpenOffice would work this magic, wouldn't it?
      > And isn't OpenOffice one of the best software options for
      >reading old WP for Mac file formats?

      Yes to the first. I have no personal experience of the second but I've heard that it works.

      >(By the way, WordPerfect codes and structures look – to my
      >untrained eye at least – to be a lot like XML.)

      The underlying principle is similar, in that the formatting instructions are separate from the actual content they format. However, WP uses proprietary programming to tell the computer how things should appear. In theory, only Wordperfect itself can do the job, and perhaps only some versions of Wordperfect at that. In practice, some other programs have conversion filters that work reasonably well, translating WP commands into the commands the destination program uses, but these conversions will probably "lose" some information in the process.

      In XML, the "codes" are just plain text tagging so the files themselves can be opened in any text-compatible program on any platform. The tags are interpreted based on their definitions in another plain text file, the "DTD" (document type declaration) which defines which tags are used and how they should appear in their final layout ... but you can format the same content different ways simply by switching the DTD from, say, "Print" to "Web." The DTD itself is endlessly reusable and also cross-platform, so (with the proviso that the same fonts are available or suitable substitution prescribed) your document should appear correctly on somebody else's computer when interpreted by their software, which may well be different from yours.

      Note, though, that an XML file and its associated DTD are translated into a visible layout by software, of which there are many kinds with different degrees of sophistication. I haven't yet found a good XSLT program for OS 9 and earlier, so it's a good thing I like working with source files rather than WYSIWYG.



      Regards,

      Judyth
      --
      N.B. I am off-line much of the time these days: please
      phone if you need me urgently, and bear with me if less
      urgent matters take a while to resolve.
      ##################################
      Judyth Mermelstein "cogito ergo lego ergo cogito..."
      Montreal, QC <judyth.mermelstein@...>
      Canada H4G 1J4 <lapomme@...>
      ##################################
      "A word to the wise is sufficient. For others, use more."
      "Un mot suffit aux sages; pour les autres, il en faut plus."
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