RE: XML schema for documentation - looking for resources

Subject: RE: XML schema for documentation - looking for resources
From: "Mark Baker" <mbaker -at- ca -dot- stilo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2003 14:30:30 -0500

Sean Hower wrote:

> Don't think in terms of XML, or schemas, just think in terms of
> your document. If you concetrate on what you want to include in
> your documents, it'll be much easier to derive your schema.

I endorse this sentiment, but with one reservation. You have to ask
yourself, am I looking to model my documents or am I looking to model my
information. There are good reasons to do either one. (And indeed, if you
make a model of your content, you are also going to need to model documents
in order to publish that content.)

The "content/format trap" that Karen referred to is often a result of not
asking this basic question up front. The first step to escaping it is to
recognize that content is content and documents are document and one schema
can describe either content or a document but not both.

It is tempting to try to mix content and document markup in a single schema
but it really is a trap. You need to decide what kind of problem you are
trying to solve and then develop a model that addresses that problem.

For instance, do you need to deliver the same document in different media
with formatting and presentation elements appropriate to that media? If so,
you want to create an abstract model of your document so that it can be
manipulated in different ways to satisfy the publishing needs of each media.

Or do you need to solve a problem with missed updates in which the same
information occurs in different documents, but not all copies of the
information get updated at once. If this is the case, creating a model of
your documents won't help much. You need to create a model of your content
such that that information is either stored in one place, so that it can be
updated once, or else reliably labeled so that each instance can be found
reliably when updates occur.

Mark Baker
Stilo Corporation
1900 City Park Drive, Suite 504 , Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1J 1A3
Phone: 613-745-4242, Fax: 613-745-5560
Email mbaker -at- ca -dot- stilo -dot- com

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re: XML schema for documentation - looking for resources: From: Sean Hower

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