Re: XML and professional page design

Subject: Re: XML and professional page design
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 08 Nov 2000 14:26:44 -0800

Susan Ahrenhold wrote:

> The great advantage of this is that you can re-use structured information in
> vastly different layouts. The content isn't the writer's problem. XSL
> stylesheets can be remarkably sophisticated, as can the DTD's they are
> designed to service.

In my experience, it's not the DTDs that cause the problem; it's the
style sheets. Designing a style sheet for a markup language is
extremely time-consuming and awkward compared to using a layout
program, especially if you're developing it in a text editor. At the
very least, it's not for the faint of heart.

> I suspect that working in Word can make us sloppy -- we substitute layout
> for thinking about the structure of the work we're producing. This is
> actually why I prefer to write straight text, and then format later. After
> all, hitting the left indent key doesn't necessarily mean that the thought
> I'm putting on the next line is subordinate to the thought in the paragraph
> above; that's my job.

Don't get me wrong: the fact that markup languages force you to
think in terms of writing structure is useful. I've seen too many
writers with a hazy sense of structure not to appreciate this
feature. It's just that I'd like to have things both ways.

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
Contributing Editor, Maximum Linux
604.421.7189 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

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