Re: The sky is starting to fall again

Subject: Re: The sky is starting to fall again
From: eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2005 10:25:21 -0400


bounce-techwr-l-106467 -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com wrote on 04/27/2005 04:01:57 AM:
> The X in XML stands for eXtensible, the Word in WordML is quite the
> opposite!

> Brgds,
> Ant

So? MathML, Docbook, XHTML, DITA, ATA, and EVERY other schema and XML
compliant application eliminates varying degrees of "extensibility" to
serve the needs and requirements of the purpose being served. Yet they all
remain perfectly valid XML.

Granted I'm not up to speed on WordML, but it's purpose to me would be to
describe word documents in an XML compliant way. If it does, there's
nothing wrong. If you create a filter that makes FM MIF files XML
compliant, it is neither the fault of FM or Word that one or the other
can't treat tables and sideheads in the same manner. It's a failure if
there IS a common denominator interchange format that isn't made
available, but it would be stupidity to work and store your information in
an interchange format that makes you give up the strengths of your work
environment and tools.

XML isn't some magic pill covering format and applications for information
and documents. As a language description it could be considered the same
as a programming language. Take any flavour of C for example. C can be
compiled by ANY C compliant compiler as XML can be parsed and processed by
any XML parser. But, the program that gives you a financial application IS
NOT the same as a program that gives you screen saver.

However the analogy falls apart since XML doesn't describe a language as a
programming reference does, but describes how to describe a language.
Indeed when you create an XML application and workflow you are creating
everything from the language description, through the programming and
compiler, all the way to the output.

One group's XML application is as foreign to another's as the files from a
MSWord shop are to a FrameMaker shop. Perhaps even more so as the XML
applications are possibly tailored to specific workflows in each shop and
not generic binaries. The advantage is that given the standard
configuration files and descriptors, one shop can duplicate the others
work environment with their collection of tools.

And, unlike .doc and .fm files, the definitions of the "format" are open
and filters can be created to share information by anyone with the
knowledge and the required tools. That isn't to say everything IS
transferable. Either from an information standpoint or a format
standpoint. Not unless you want to either degrade you company and industry
to a brain-dead lowest common denominator or hobble it with a gigantic
one-size fits all solution. But a HUGE strength of XML is that you can
include structure and content using another application within yours
(combining MathML information in your ProprietaryML or IndustryML
application for example).

In cases where one-size fits all solutions are available (ATA and
Docbook), the more sane approach is to view the standards for what they
are. For delivery and interchange. For content manipulation and creation,
the efficient processes leverage their specific needs and cater to their
specific requirements (look at the numerous "sub" and complementary ATA
and MIL-spec applications that are available).

Eric L. Dunn
Senior Technical Writer

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Re: The sky is starting to fall again: From: Anthony Davey

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