Re: Structure vs. Substance?

Subject: Re: Structure vs. Substance?
From: "Dan Roberts" <droberts63 -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000 18:45:39 -0400

Sounds to me like you both are sorta agreeing with each other

Tim Altom states
>"Structure can exist quite
>independently of content, and often does. This is the basis for all of SGML,
>in fact. Databases aren't developed with content, but with structure...the
>content comes later.

and Catharine responds
>"Structure may precede content being entered into the structure, but any good
database requires that the authors know what kind of information goes into the
structure, before they begin. A good database should suit the data, not just
act as a repository. The idea that databases are meant to store data is missing
the point. Databases are meant to store information, which means presenting the
data in a useful way, which means taking the nature of the information into
consideration before you begin.

Structure requires an in-depth knowledge of content-type, but not of actual

SGML or InfoMapping-esque documentation (Clustar, SevenSteps, etc) or a good
DW/DB design requires that the developer know the *kinds* of data being input
into the system (price, country, merchandise), but not the specific Price of Tea
in China right now.

To take the online Help example that Catharine used, she knows that she's going
to have topics of certain types (conceptual, procedural, referential, etc) and
how those general topic are going to link to each other...even tho she hasn't
seen the first bit of GUI interface yet.

And, imho, the more precise you can get that pre-existing structure, the easier
it will be to pour your content into that structure. Tho the 'pouring content'
process can still take a heck of a lot of work.

but that and $0.50 will buy you a cup of coffee.


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