Re: [xml-doc] Quoting Jon Bosak correctly
> What Jon said, exactly, is:And just as important is the baseline from which Jon derives
> In industrial contexts, it is commonly estimated that marking up
> technical material adds about 40% to the work of writing the
> There's a big difference between that and what you are attributing to
> Jon: that he said using XML (or DITA), specifically, adds 40% to the
> work of writing text.
that 40% figure. I ***THINK*** the baseline implied in the
article involves typing up a document using a text editor (or
a word processor with minimal formatting) -- basically a "glass
What I got out of the article was that metadata is a difficult
and important part of the equation. Adding metadata to an
otherwise un-tagged scientific document probably *does* add 40%
to the overall effort. The questions are:
1) Does that 40% figure apply to all types of writing?
I don't think so. For technical documentation, I'd guess
the added burden is far less since we already have to
add more traditional types of metadata (index entries).
Depending on how the processes change, we may end up
deriving many index entries from metadata -- instead of
adding more work, we just move it around a bit.
2) Whether the payback comes in a reasonable amount of time.
If we're putting out more effort up front, we want to get
that back somehow. If you don't branch out beyond the old
paper manual, you probably won't see much of a return.
The payback comes when you can quickly provide things like
quick references, searchable on-line documents, screen-
formatted PDFs, and the like, with little effort on the
back end. [XML isn't a requirement here, but it can help.]
3) Whether *any* of the work can be automated to some extent.
Jon used an example of tagging chemical reagents as such.
A trained user could probably make that kind of change
quickly, but I wouldn't trust a fully-automated system
any more than I'd trust an automatic indexer. :-)
There's also the question of consistency, which Jon mentions
in the article. If everyone goes off & tags things their own
way, you end up with a big mishmash that you'll probably have
to sort out by hand (i.e. more effort, sadly wasted). Thus the
call for the publishers to create a standard document type
that all of them can use to make their individual efforts more
Larry Kollar, Senior Technical Writer, ARRIS
"Content creators are the engine that drives
value in the information life cycle."
-- Barry Schaeffer, on XML-Doc