SGML/XML Justification - was replacement of Frame

Subject: SGML/XML Justification - was replacement of Frame
From: "Chris Knight" <cknight -at- attcanada -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2000 16:37:39 -0700

David M. Brown" <dmbrown -at- teleport -dot- com> wrote:

> On Mon, 3 Jul 2000, Karen Koldyk wrote:
> >
> > c) How do I attach a $ figure to soft benefits such as having a
> > well formed document that is fully searchable with no real effort
> > after the style sheets etc. are in place.

> Just curious: How are "well-formed" and "fully searchable" related?

> I'd have thought the only navigational benefit of good structure would
> be to the table of contents (and similarly to someone just browsing).

Searching isn't only navigational. Searching also retrieves data.
You can then process the data in some way, and display the data in some way.

I take "well-formed" to mean full of meta-data, rich in information about
the
document's contents. Headings, which specify the TOC, are one type of
meta-data. They can be searched themselves, or can narrow down a search
to text under the heading, etc.

You could narrow a search down to "only procedures containing the word
'file'"
or to "all incidences of 'Cancel' that have the 'Button' character tag"
The ultimate form of meta-data is indexing. Search the index, not the
document.

We are headed for a world where all documnets are XML files (or not).
Authoring tools and word processors will expect to read from, and save to,
XML files, using a combination of general and site-specific DTDs.
I can understand why our tool vendors are dragging their heels; they won't
be
able to hide their ugly formatting etc. in proprietary file formats, AND
they will
have to pass validation procedures. The ignominy!

As to how to justify all this with "hard numbers", this could be difficult.
I was very impressed with the post from Bill Hall. One of the things that
caught my eye was the ability to reduce the number of documents by
managing and reusing document components.
But I suspect his solution is affordable only if you're a navy supplier.
Anyone got any more XML success stories? Horror stories?

Christopher Knight, Technical Communicator
E-mail: cknight -at- attcanada -dot- ca
Phone: (604) 877-0074





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