Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Re: [xml-doc] Re: Tools

Expand Messages
  • Christopher R. Maden
    ... As I mentioned to Matt off-list, an excellent book for topics like this is Chet Ensign s _$GML: The Billion Dollar Secret_. The book predates XML, but
    Message 1 of 20 , Apr 1, 2001
      At 18:05 31-03-2001, jturnbull_2000@... wrote:
      >Companies that have made
      >switch to markup language use have invested heavily, but have
      >generally succeeded in bringing costs to their minimum.

      As I mentioned to Matt off-list, an excellent book for topics like this is
      Chet Ensign's _$GML: The Billion Dollar Secret_. The book predates XML,
      but Chet profiles several companies, from Grolier to ... erm, either Mobil
      or Exxon.[*] In every case, the company spent more than they had thought
      they would or planned for, but in every case, the company saved more money
      than they thought they would, often in unexpected ways.

      The book is a must-read, not really for anyone already posting to this
      list, but for anyone's manager who needs to be sold on the idea of
      structured markup.

      -Chris

      [*] Looking around for the book, I just realized that I think that a boss
      from three jobs back still has my copy.
      --
      Christopher R. Maden, XML Consultant
      DTDs/schemas - conversion - ebooks - publishing - Web - B2B - training
      <URL: http://crism.maden.org/consulting/ >
      PGP Fingerprint: BBA6 4085 DED0 E176 D6D4 5DFC AC52 F825 AFEC 58DA
    • Dave Pawson
      ... What about that Chris Maden book? It appears to have quite a lot of quite praise? Applicability Chris? Regards DaveP, bookshelves looking very strained.
      Message 2 of 20 , Apr 1, 2001
        At 09:41 AM 4/1/01, Christopher R. Maden wrote:

        >As I mentioned to Matt off-list, an excellent book for topics like this is
        >Chet Ensign's _$GML: The Billion Dollar Secret_. The book predates XML,
        >but Chet profiles several companies, from Grolier to ... erm, either Mobil
        >or Exxon.[*] In every case, the company spent more than they had thought
        >they would or planned for, but in every case, the company saved more money
        >than they thought they would, often in unexpected ways.
        >
        >The book is a must-read, not really for anyone already posting to this
        >list, but for anyone's manager who needs to be sold on the idea of
        >structured markup.

        What about that Chris Maden book?
        It appears to have quite a lot of quite praise?

        Applicability Chris?

        Regards DaveP,
        bookshelves looking very strained.
      • HALL Bill
        Matt asked what tools can be used to produce conditional text. The advice given earlier under this topic is all good. If you draft your documentation in a
        Message 3 of 20 , Apr 1, 2001
          Matt asked what tools can be used to produce conditional text.

          The advice given earlier under this topic is all good.

          If you draft your documentation in a structured authoring environment (e.g.,
          XML, SGML) connected to a database application that understands the
          structure, the output possibilities become limitless. However, as someone
          noted in an earlier post, the most you can do is to have your authoring
          environment look like one of your deliverables. In our experience, our
          authors adapted within a week to working happily in a controlled environment
          - to the extent that people working on other kinds of documentation not yet
          controlled by DTDs are asking how soon they too can move into it.

          Some specialisation is required, however, in that you will require at least
          one person on staff who knows how to build the output documents.

          We have used or evaluated four different authoring tools: FM+SGML, Epic
          Editor, XMetaL and InContext (is it still available?). All of them worked
          fine from the authoring point of view and would work interchangeably with
          our database environment. We use FM+SGML for our production tool only
          because the required output templates for our Australian Defence standards
          already existed, and it saved us some effort by comparison to implementing
          one of the other editing environments.

          My understanding is that FrameMaker's conditional text features can be used
          on their own (e.g., without a database management environment) if your
          single-sourcing differences are comparatively minor. However, if you want to
          produce a range of documents from the one source (e.g., multiple languages,
          qualitatively different kinds of documents) it is far easier to manage using
          script processes associated with a structured (SGML/XML) database management
          system. This will also give you complete revision and version control, query
          and retrieval, element reuse, and a workflow management environment.

          We beta tested RMIT University's SIM (Structured Information Manager) DCMS
          (Document and Content Management System), distributed in the US by SAIC for
          our content management environment, because its repository, indexing and
          script processing capabilities are far ahead of anything else on the market
          - and because RMIT is 20 minutes down the road from us.

          Based on our evaluation of the market, there were several other database
          tools we could have used (although they would have cost us more in terms of
          implementation and maintenance) to achieve the same result: Xyenterprise's
          Content@-XML, Chrystal's Astoria, Texcel's Information Manager (due to the
          melt down of Texcel and the consumption of Interleaf, IM is now part of
          BroadVision's eCommerce solution - and I have no idea if it is still
          available as a separate database package), plus several other alternatives
          that would have required more development work (e.g., Poet, Tamino, etc.).

          None of these implementations are cheap or easy - and some may limit your
          choice of editor, but if you are associated with a large documentation
          environment, say with five or more fulltime authors, you should probably
          investigate the full content management approach.

          In our environment, the SIM/FM+SGML solution performed faultlessly for us
          and has already saved us several million dollars within a few months of
          going live. We were able to avoid a contractual liquidated damages payout on
          a new requirement to revise 10,000 maintenance routines to implement health
          and safety warnings which we could not have done in the available time with
          the word processing environment SIM replaced. Purely on labour savings at
          the tail end of the ANZAC project, when our primary requirement is to
          maintain existing documents rather than author new ones, we will reach our
          break-even in around three years. Savings would have been MUCH larger if we
          had been able to implement this kind of technology early in our authoring
          phase - with a labour payoff probably achievable within a year. We are now
          in the process of extending SIM to a range of other corporate document types
          - which will of course substantially reduce the ROI time.

          Where the "Billion Dollar Secret" is concerned, we were on notice that our
          client would not accept delivery of our fifth ship if there were any
          outstanding documentation "quality" issues - which would have triggered the
          contractual payout of several million dollars. The fact that the Warramunga
          was commissioned by the RAN last Saturday is a statement that our Client was
          happy with the documentation deliverables and that the contingency reserve
          against this potential liability is now available for other purposes (e.g.,
          company profit).

          My case study paper on this project will appear as a feature article in the
          May edition of Technical Communication - the professional journal of the
          Society for Technical Communication. Preprints (MS Word 97 format) are
          available on request. I will send Matt a copy as soon as Yahoo comes back on
          line and I can get his E-mail address.

          Regards,

          Bill Hall
          Documentation Systems Specialist
          Integrated Logistic Support
          Tenix ANZAC Ship Project
          Williamstown, Vic. 3016 AUSTRALIA
          E-mail: bill.hall@... <mailto:bill.hall@...>
          URL: http://www.tenix.com/
        • Julien Hert
          Hi all, Hope you all had a nice week-end! Let me give you some updated informations about the few questions following ... Epic Editor (fixed license) is $695.
          Message 4 of 20 , Apr 2, 2001
            Hi all,

            Hope you all had a nice week-end!

            Let me give you some updated informations about the few questions following
            my previous e-mail:

            > You forgot the price tag Julien?

            Epic Editor (fixed license) is $695.
            Pricing is available on Arbortext's website.

            > I was told be the sales rep for my region that Arbortext does not send out
            > eval copies. Any suggestions?

            Even if evaluation versions cannot be downloaded over the net, we send out
            CDs.
            Joe, I'll send you another e-mail off-list to know where you're located.

            I do agree with John Turnbull about WYSIWYG.
            Perhaps my answer was a bit confusing, and I'm sorry about that.
            A screen-stylesheet is intended to increase ease-of-use and productivity.
            Your authors' main task is to create content. Their interface has to be
            creation-oriented. There's no real need of WYSIWYG since the same content
            will take place on many different outputs.
            Nevertheless, if your authors want something that looks like the print
            output or the Web output, it's possible to design the screen-stylesheet this
            way!

            Matt,

            There are very few products that match your requirements. My advice would be
            to contact both Arbortext and Softquad, and then discuss about your specific
            requirements for your particular business.

            If you want a sales rep to get in touch with you, please send an e-mail to
            info@... or fill-in the form at
            http://www.arbortext.com/Contact__Us/Info__Form/info__form.html.

            Cheers,

            Julien Hert
            Arbortext
          • Dave Pawson
            ... And to enable us to create our own DTD s for use in Epic? The architecture product? Please don t say that only big outfits write their own DTD s, its
            Message 5 of 20 , Apr 2, 2001
              At 09:38 AM 4/2/01, Julien Hert wrote:
              >Hi all,
              >
              >Hope you all had a nice week-end!
              >
              >Let me give you some updated informations about the few questions following
              >my previous e-mail:
              >
              >> You forgot the price tag Julien?
              >
              >Epic Editor (fixed license) is $695.
              >Pricing is available on Arbortext's website.

              And to enable us to create our own DTD's for use in Epic?
              The 'architecture' product? Please don't say that only
              big outfits write their own DTD's, its simply not true.

              (though it has come down in price. My last quote was nearer
              1K UK pounds.

              Admitted (from our review) its a superb product that met all our
              A list needs and most of our B list, but its not priced for
              widespread use IMHO.

              Regards DaveP
            • sara.mitchell@ps.ge.com
              Chris -- thanks for the note on the book! Maybe this will make the next manager I have to convince a little easier ;), Sara
              Message 6 of 20 , Apr 2, 2001
                Chris -- thanks for the note on the book! Maybe this will
                make the next manager I have to convince a little easier ;),

                Sara

                [Chris Madden wrote on 3/31/01:
                > As I mentioned to Matt off-list, an excellent book for topics
                > like this is
                > Chet Ensign's _$GML: The Billion Dollar Secret_. The book
                > predates XML,
                > but Chet profiles several companies, from Grolier to ... erm,
                > either Mobil
                > or Exxon.[*] In every case, the company spent more than they
                > had thought
                > they would or planned for, but in every case, the company
                > saved more money
                > than they thought they would, often in unexpected ways.
              • HALL Bill
                The usual caveats: I don t work for any of the suppliers mentioned, but we have been FrameMaker+SGML users for ~4 years now. 1. The ArborText aficionados have
                Message 7 of 20 , Apr 2, 2001
                  The usual caveats: I don't work for any of the suppliers mentioned, but we
                  have been FrameMaker+SGML users for ~4 years now.

                  1. The ArborText aficionados have added some useful commentary in the last
                  digest. There is no doubt that their tools are professional. We looked at
                  ArborText fairly closely and have an Adept (Epic is a newer version of the
                  Adept editor) professional on staff. Although Epic LE is inexpensive, by the
                  time you are fully set up with Document Architect and the batch print engine
                  - based on our assessment in Australia, it was the most expensive of the
                  three equivalents (XMetaL, FrameMaker+SGML and Epic) to deploy for a content
                  management environment. The Epic environment is also probably the most
                  powerful if you are into heavy duty publishing into a print environment -
                  although the Australian supplier Turn-Key Systems
                  (http://www.turnkey.com.au/ produces a powerful print engine known as
                  TopLeaf (http://www.turnkey.com.au/tl.htm) that works with XMetaL. Contact
                  Turn-Key to see if there are distributors in other parts of the world.

                  The point here is to check your alternatives, all of the systems have their
                  distinct advantages and disadvantages. We selected FrameMaker+SGML for our
                  editing environment because when we were first getting into SGML (1) because
                  it had the best local support for the kind of defence documentation
                  standards we were delivering to, and (2) because the one package met both
                  our editing and printing requirements. Since our content management system
                  didn't care what editor we worked in, we saw no reason to change horses.

                  2. Where Barry Schaeffer's comment about knowledge workers using the tool
                  not wanting to see a structure view - again think about your particular
                  requirements.

                  If you are only concerned for your authors to write well-formed XML, he may
                  be correct - give your authors a simple ~WYSIWYG editing environment.
                  Certainly both Epic and FM+SGML can give you this. However, where authors
                  are writing documents which must be validated against a DTD, we have found
                  it helps our subject matter experts (i.e., unskilled from the word
                  processing point of view) to have the multi screen model where they can see
                  (1) a WYSYWYG view, (2) a structure view which clearly shows them where they
                  have broken a rule of the DTD, and (3) a palette of elements they are
                  currently allowed to insert at the cursor.

                  In our content management environment it took half a day to explain how the
                  whole system worked, half a day hands-on training in the authoring
                  environment and another 3-4 days of handholding help before they exceeded
                  their productivity in the word processing environment. After having seen how
                  easy the system is to use, our other authors still working in an MS Word
                  environment are all asking how soon they can work on their documents in the
                  controlled environment.

                  3. The final point I want to make is the importance of determining how much
                  work it will be to actually implement your working environment. FrameMaker
                  has, from my second-hand understanding, quite a capable set of API's with
                  the FDK (Frame Development Kit) which supposedly makes them comparatively
                  easy to work with. There are also a large number of independent consultants
                  and add-on software able to work with FM. ArborText's language is also very
                  capable (again based on second hand information) but the knowledge to
                  actually use it seems much more arcane as very few independent consultants
                  appear to offer skills.

                  From my own experience as a very amateur builder of DTD controlled editing
                  environments, who has tried to set up new environments in both Epic and
                  FM+SGML I found FrameMaker much easier to work with than the Architect
                  environment - and this was well before getting into the even more arcane
                  aspects of coding.

                  That was part of our decision to specify a content management system that
                  required no modifications to the editing environment (other than the
                  necessary development of templates for the editing environment).

                  The bottom line is that it is costly and labour intensive to implement a
                  content management environment - but if done correctly it can return huge
                  savings.

                  Regards,

                  Bill Hall
                  Documentation Systems Specialist
                  Integrated Logistic Support
                  Tenix ANZAC Ship Project
                  Williamstown, Vic. 3016 AUSTRALIA
                  E-mail: bill.hall@... <mailto:bill.hall@...>
                • Dave Pawson
                  ... Whats le please? Are Arbortext finally realising that there are other markets than big bucks business? ... Its the architect price that really bugged me.
                  Message 8 of 20 , Apr 3, 2001
                    At 12:41 AM 4/3/01, you wrote:
                    > Although Epic LE is inexpensive,


                    Whats 'le' please? Are Arbortext finally realising that there are
                    other markets than big bucks business?


                    > by the
                    >time you are fully set up with Document Architect and the batch print engine
                    >- based on our assessment in Australia, it was the most expensive of the
                    >three equivalents


                    Its the architect price that really bugged me.
                    Xmetal in its previous disguise used to do it, but bowed to pressure
                    and its now an incorporated product.

                    Editor cost=1unit
                    DTD bit = 5 units.

                    On yer bike was my response.

                    Regards DaveP
                  • Julien Hert
                    Dave, Choosing a product like an XML editor covers many functional areas and can be critical for your business. Price isn t the only criteria, and obviously
                    Message 9 of 20 , Apr 4, 2001
                      Dave,

                      Choosing a product like an XML editor covers many functional areas and can
                      be critical for your business. Price isn't the only criteria, and obviously
                      it's the worst topic to be discussed without knowing anything about your
                      project.

                      Julien Hert
                      Arbortext

                      > -----Message d'origine-----
                      > De : Dave Pawson [mailto:daveP@...]
                      > Envoye : mardi 3 avril 2001 19:19
                      > A : xml-doc@yahoogroups.com
                      > Objet : Re: [xml-doc] RE: Tools
                      >
                      >
                      > At 12:41 AM 4/3/01, you wrote:
                      > > Although Epic LE is inexpensive,
                      >
                      >
                      > Whats 'le' please? Are Arbortext finally realising that there are
                      > other markets than big bucks business?
                      >
                      >
                      > > by the
                      > >time you are fully set up with Document Architect and the batch
                      > print engine
                      > >- based on our assessment in Australia, it was the most expensive of the
                      > >three equivalents
                      >
                      >
                      > Its the architect price that really bugged me.
                      > Xmetal in its previous disguise used to do it, but bowed to pressure
                      > and its now an incorporated product.
                      >
                      > Editor cost=1unit
                      > DTD bit = 5 units.
                      >
                      > On yer bike was my response.
                      >
                      > Regards DaveP
                    • Dave Pawson
                      ... The project is the introduction of multi media publishing (6 or 7 different media) into the organisation ( a UK registered charity). As I said the
                      Message 10 of 20 , Apr 4, 2001
                        At 03:00 PM 4/4/01, you wrote:
                        >Dave,
                        >
                        >Choosing a product like an XML editor covers many functional areas and can
                        >be critical for your business. Price isn't the only criteria, and obviously
                        >it's the worst topic to be discussed without knowing anything about your
                        >project.


                        The 'project' is the introduction of multi media publishing
                        (6 or 7 different media) into the organisation ( a UK registered charity).

                        As I said the feature list compared to our 'wish list' was more
                        than a good match. Target users around 8, Number of DTDs around 5.

                        The price however was a killer. I was laughed out of the bean counters
                        offices when I mentioned it.

                        Cost justification didn't get a look-in.

                        I'm just curious whether the small user is in sight for Arbotext?

                        Regards DaveP
                      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.