Re: XML or Java Help?

Subject: Re: XML or Java Help?
From: Scott Turner <sturner -at- airmail -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 09:01:08 -0500

Jumping in on the XML documentation thread, does anyone out there use XML or
Java to create online help? I have heard bits and pieces from people about
it's the "wave of the future" but is that really the case? Recently, I have
been looking into XML and, with the help of online tutorials and a trial copy
XMetal Pro, have managed to learn the basics but I still have no clue as to
it all works itself into the documentation end of things.

I would love to jump from ForeHelp into something new and "cutting edge," but
there really anything out there that's stable and supported enough to be
a solution? If I could find something that would work for single-sourcing,
would be awesome.

>From Scott Turner's comments, I gather that XML isn't really the latest and
greatest documentation solution. Any other thoughts on that issue? How about
Java Help? What tools are used to create Java Help and is anyone using it as
standard? I guess my main question is should I just stick with ForeHelp and
> wait for XML and Java to mature.

Just to avoid any misunderstanding in what I said about XML, it is an up and comming technology. It just doesn't have the tools to easily author in, or view. The entire XML concept is still maturing and until there is support for viewing and printing, it is incomplete.

That said, I know that IE 5.x supports viewing of XML. I know that it also supports XSLT (the language that allows XML to be transformed into HTML). But until Netscape also support this, and Opera, and a few other browsers, you cannot use it without reservations. Likewise printing is something of a problem. XML only provides structure. This is different from format. Very different. Format can reinforce structure, illuminating the relationship of elements to each other graphically. The tools for this are still lacking.

At this point, there is a Korean company (Softmagic) that is developing a tool suite for XML content authoring and deployment, and Adobe as stated that its products will support XML. And FrameMaker does, but only for export.

I shudder to think how Microsoft will make Word spit out XML content. They still have a problem with stable formatting.

So, learn XML and its concepts because it will be here, soon, and for the rest of your life.

Java has its own problems, mainly that support for it from Microsoft is spotty, this primarily for political reasons.



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XML or Java Help?: From: kelli . lewis

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