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Re: What would you tell writers about XML

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  • agnes_clarke@nl.compuware.com
    As an author responsible for DTD design and XML editing environments, I can add the following: 1) designing XML structures without input from authors is
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 1, 2001
      As an author responsible for DTD design and XML editing environments,
      I can add the following:

      1) designing XML structures without input from authors is typically
      disastrous, as
      -- critical, fundamental details are typically omitted from the
      design, and...
      -- the authors, who have not been involved in the design work, have
      consequently not developed the skills or knowledge to pick up on the
      problems -until large reams of data have been created using the buggy
      format.

      2) Authors are also guilty of hanging back from learning and adopting
      new technologies, often resulting in this kind of marginalization.
      But can we really call XML a 'new' technology anymore?


      --- In xml-doc@y..., "Roger Van Houten" <rogervanh@h...> wrote:
      > RE: "What would you want to tell a "content" person
      > about XML?
      >
      > (After all, XML is a file format, not a editing
      > program.)"
      >
      > XML is NOT a file format, nor is it an editing program - it's so
      much more
      > than either - it is a human and machine readable language for
      describing
      > information structures (actually to be more technical it's
      a "metalanguage"
      > - a language for describing languages). Don't be quick to
      trivialize the
      > concept of authors knowing something more about XML, and
      particularly what
      > XML represents to their craft of communication. Authors already use
      a
      > "mark-up" language of a sort. Consider the use of spaces,
      punctuation, and
      > lines of text. And, consider the "unseen" attributes of an outline
      > (structure), an "audience", and the relationships between interior
      > components of a document (see figure), and references to external
      documents
      > (see also). Would you consider it "important" for authors to know
      about
      > these things? In our current tools these characterisitcs
      are "understood" by
      > the author and reader by training and education. Under current
      methods, if
      > the audience or the media change, the document must be re-written,
      or
      > converted from one form to another. Using XML the structure can be
      exploited
      > through the use of attributes, The communication can adapt on the
      fly to the
      > skills of the reader (labguage, knowledge, situation), and to the
      media the
      > reader chooses. The author must know about how document structure,
      > attributes, and referencing (information relationships) can be
      controlled
      > and manipulated through XML in order to take best advantage of
      them. No one
      > is better equipped than the author to use the power of XML to
      communicate.
      > But, if the authors relegate this task to coders then the writing
      and
      > delivery becomes more expensive and time consuming, message
      formation
      > suffers, and users are left with inadequate tools to find
      specifically what
      > they need.
      > A few of XML's advantages for communications:
      > - Reduce the cost and time of creating and delivering content
      > - Facilitate localization and translation processes
      > - Improve data integrity and accessibility
      > - Provide appropriate security and control, at sub-document levels
      > - Reduce dependency on proprietary tools and formats
      > - Replac the overburdened and monolithic HTML specification
      > - Utilizes open standards
      > - Provide a single-source store of content that's reuseable across
      media and
      > purposes
      > - Capture information about information, to retain analysis, design
      and
      > other information along with document content
      > - Make content more discoverable and accessible to users
      > - To free authors from the burden of formatting and sty;eizing, to
      focus
      > more on breadth and depth of content.
      >
      > XML is all about content, and a smart content-person will jump into
      this
      > arena without hesitation. XML is not a fad, but is rapidly becoming
      the
      > foundation of the web, of online learning and communication. It
      also
      > gracefully bridges the gap between print and online delivery. It is
      to
      > current publishing and writing mwethods what the automobile was to
      horse and
      > carriage. For more on horseless carriage thinking, please see:
      > http://www.designingwbt.com/content/quotes/hct_files/frame.htm
      > You may find this link useful too:
      > http://www.ucc.ie/xml/
      >
      > XML represents a marvelous advantage for authors to dramatically
      improve the
      > depth and breadth of their communication - if only they knew it :>
      > _________________________________________________________________
      > Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com
    • Steve Hoenisch
      All: I m writing a monthly column in the magazine XML Journal that aims to indoctrinate technical writers and other nonprogrammers into the world of XML and to
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 1, 2001
        All: I'm writing a monthly column in the magazine XML Journal that aims to
        indoctrinate
        technical writers and other nonprogrammers into the world of XML and to
        teach them how to use it for web publishing. The first installment of the
        column appears in the May issue, on bookstore shelves now.

        Sorry if this posting is somewhat self-promoting, but with all the talk
        lately of XML courses for writers and the like, I thought it might be useful
        information for any content authors on the list looking for an introduction
        to XML from a nonprogrammer's perspective.

        Best,
        Steve Hoenisch
        shoenish@...


        ----- Original Message -----
        From: <agnes_clarke@...>
        To: <xml-doc@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Friday, June 01, 2001 3:33 AM
        Subject: [xml-doc] Re: What would you tell writers about XML


        > As an author responsible for DTD design and XML editing environments,
        > I can add the following:
        >
        > 1) designing XML structures without input from authors is typically
        > disastrous, as
        > -- critical, fundamental details are typically omitted from the
        > design, and...
        > -- the authors, who have not been involved in the design work, have
        > consequently not developed the skills or knowledge to pick up on the
        > problems -until large reams of data have been created using the buggy
        > format.
        >
        > 2) Authors are also guilty of hanging back from learning and adopting
        > new technologies, often resulting in this kind of marginalization.
        > But can we really call XML a 'new' technology anymore?
        >
        >
        > --- In xml-doc@y..., "Roger Van Houten" <rogervanh@h...> wrote:
        > > RE: "What would you want to tell a "content" person
        > > about XML?
        > >
        > > (After all, XML is a file format, not a editing
        > > program.)"
        > >
        > > XML is NOT a file format, nor is it an editing program - it's so
        > much more
        > > than either - it is a human and machine readable language for
        > describing
        > > information structures (actually to be more technical it's
        > a "metalanguage"
        > > - a language for describing languages). Don't be quick to
        > trivialize the
        > > concept of authors knowing something more about XML, and
        > particularly what
        > > XML represents to their craft of communication. Authors already use
        > a
        > > "mark-up" language of a sort. Consider the use of spaces,
        > punctuation, and
        > > lines of text. And, consider the "unseen" attributes of an outline
        > > (structure), an "audience", and the relationships between interior
        > > components of a document (see figure), and references to external
        > documents
        > > (see also). Would you consider it "important" for authors to know
        > about
        > > these things? In our current tools these characterisitcs
        > are "understood" by
        > > the author and reader by training and education. Under current
        > methods, if
        > > the audience or the media change, the document must be re-written,
        > or
        > > converted from one form to another. Using XML the structure can be
        > exploited
        > > through the use of attributes, The communication can adapt on the
        > fly to the
        > > skills of the reader (labguage, knowledge, situation), and to the
        > media the
        > > reader chooses. The author must know about how document structure,
        > > attributes, and referencing (information relationships) can be
        > controlled
        > > and manipulated through XML in order to take best advantage of
        > them. No one
        > > is better equipped than the author to use the power of XML to
        > communicate.
        > > But, if the authors relegate this task to coders then the writing
        > and
        > > delivery becomes more expensive and time consuming, message
        > formation
        > > suffers, and users are left with inadequate tools to find
        > specifically what
        > > they need.
        > > A few of XML's advantages for communications:
        > > - Reduce the cost and time of creating and delivering content
        > > - Facilitate localization and translation processes
        > > - Improve data integrity and accessibility
        > > - Provide appropriate security and control, at sub-document levels
        > > - Reduce dependency on proprietary tools and formats
        > > - Replac the overburdened and monolithic HTML specification
        > > - Utilizes open standards
        > > - Provide a single-source store of content that's reuseable across
        > media and
        > > purposes
        > > - Capture information about information, to retain analysis, design
        > and
        > > other information along with document content
        > > - Make content more discoverable and accessible to users
        > > - To free authors from the burden of formatting and sty;eizing, to
        > focus
        > > more on breadth and depth of content.
        > >
        > > XML is all about content, and a smart content-person will jump into
        > this
        > > arena without hesitation. XML is not a fad, but is rapidly becoming
        > the
        > > foundation of the web, of online learning and communication. It
        > also
        > > gracefully bridges the gap between print and online delivery. It is
        > to
        > > current publishing and writing mwethods what the automobile was to
        > horse and
        > > carriage. For more on horseless carriage thinking, please see:
        > > http://www.designingwbt.com/content/quotes/hct_files/frame.htm
        > > You may find this link useful too:
        > > http://www.ucc.ie/xml/
        > >
        > > XML represents a marvelous advantage for authors to dramatically
        > improve the
        > > depth and breadth of their communication - if only they knew it :>
        > > _________________________________________________________________
        > > Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com
        >
        >
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      • James Robertson
        ... Roger, I agree completely with this list of advantages. (After all, I wouldn t be designing XML-based publishing systems if I didn t see these benefits.)
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 2, 2001
          At 02:32 1/06/2001, Roger Van Houten wrote:

          >A few of XML's advantages for communications:
          >- Reduce the cost and time of creating and delivering content
          >- Facilitate localization and translation processes
          >- Improve data integrity and accessibility
          >- Provide appropriate security and control, at sub-document levels
          >- Reduce dependency on proprietary tools and formats
          >- Replac the overburdened and monolithic HTML specification
          >- Utilizes open standards
          >- Provide a single-source store of content that's reuseable across media and
          >purposes
          >- Capture information about information, to retain analysis, design and
          >other information along with document content
          >- Make content more discoverable and accessible to users
          >- To free authors from the burden of formatting and sty;eizing, to focus
          >more on breadth and depth of content.

          Roger,

          I agree completely with this list of advantages.
          (After all, I wouldn't be designing XML-based publishing
          systems if I didn't see these benefits.)

          However:

          Why do authors need to see the "angle brackets" (etc)
          of XML to gain these advantages?

          J


          -------------------------
          James Robertson
          Step Two Designs Pty Ltd
          SGML, XML & HTML Consultancy
          Illumination: an out-of-the-box Intranet solution

          http://www.steptwo.com.au/
          jamesr@...
        • James Robertson
          ... Steve, Just curious, what sort of approach will you be suggesting: * XML on the client or on the server? * XML statically published to a set of HTML pages?
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 2, 2001
            At 06:01 2/06/2001, Steve Hoenisch wrote:

            >All: I'm writing a monthly column in the magazine XML Journal that aims to
            >indoctrinate
            >technical writers and other nonprogrammers into the world of XML and to
            >teach them how to use it for web publishing. The first installment of the
            >column appears in the May issue, on bookstore shelves now.
            >
            >Sorry if this posting is somewhat self-promoting, but with all the talk
            >lately of XML courses for writers and the like, I thought it might be useful
            >information for any content authors on the list looking for an introduction
            >to XML from a nonprogrammer's perspective.


            Steve,

            Just curious, what sort of approach will you
            be suggesting:

            * XML on the client or on the server?
            * XML statically published to a set of HTML pages?
            * XML dynamically converted to HTML on the fly?
            * XSLT? Cocoon? Perl? etc?

            It's a great technology (XML), it's just a pity
            that there are so many different ways of tackling
            the one problem. (Each with their own strengths,
            weaknesses and limitations.)

            J


            -------------------------
            James Robertson
            Step Two Designs Pty Ltd
            SGML, XML & HTML Consultancy
            Illumination: an out-of-the-box Intranet solution

            http://www.steptwo.com.au/
            jamesr@...
          • Grant H.
            Steve-- Additional useful topics for discussion are - Developing and using SVG - The use of XUL to develop interfaces - Making the transition to XML (from HTML
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 3, 2001
              Steve--
              Additional useful topics for discussion are
              - Developing and using SVG
              - The use of XUL to develop interfaces
              - Making the transition to XML (from HTML etc.)
              - Creating XML from text using scripts (Python, Perl, etc.)

              Grant
              ________________________
              | Grant Hogarth
              | Currently available Senior Technical Writer
              | http://resumes.dice.com/cghogarth
            • Steve Hoenisch
              I won t be suggesting any approaches per se. The objective of the column is to introduce content authors, HTML coders, and others without formal training in
              Message 6 of 7 , Jun 3, 2001
                I won't be suggesting any approaches per se. The objective of the column is
                to introduce content authors, HTML coders, and others without formal
                training in programming to the mechanics of XML, XSLT, XSLFO, DTDs, etc.,
                with a straightforward, hands-on approach to coding. Along the way, I will
                probably touch on the issues you mention below but I will avoid making any
                sweeping prescriptions about how an XML publishing system should be
                implemented, focusing instead on pointing out the various possibilities and
                the advantages and limitations that each entails.

                Best, Steve Hoenisch.

                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "James Robertson" <jamesr@...>
                To: <xml-doc@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Sunday, June 03, 2001 2:38 AM
                Subject: Re: [xml-doc] Re: What would you tell writers about XML


                > At 06:01 2/06/2001, Steve Hoenisch wrote:
                >
                > >All: I'm writing a monthly column in the magazine XML Journal that aims
                to
                > >indoctrinate
                > >technical writers and other nonprogrammers into the world of XML and to
                > >teach them how to use it for web publishing. The first installment of the
                > >column appears in the May issue, on bookstore shelves now.
                > >
                > >Sorry if this posting is somewhat self-promoting, but with all the talk
                > >lately of XML courses for writers and the like, I thought it might be
                useful
                > >information for any content authors on the list looking for an
                introduction
                > >to XML from a nonprogrammer's perspective.
                >
                >
                > Steve,
                >
                > Just curious, what sort of approach will you
                > be suggesting:
                >
                > * XML on the client or on the server?
                > * XML statically published to a set of HTML pages?
                > * XML dynamically converted to HTML on the fly?
                > * XSLT? Cocoon? Perl? etc?
                >
                > It's a great technology (XML), it's just a pity
                > that there are so many different ways of tackling
                > the one problem. (Each with their own strengths,
                > weaknesses and limitations.)
                >
                > J
                >
                >
                > -------------------------
                > James Robertson
                > Step Two Designs Pty Ltd
                > SGML, XML & HTML Consultancy
                > Illumination: an out-of-the-box Intranet solution
                >
                > http://www.steptwo.com.au/
                > jamesr@...
                >
                >
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