RE: Rant: Giving up on XML

Subject: RE: Rant: Giving up on XML
From: "Bridge, Ian" <Ian -dot- Bridge -at- capita -dot- co -dot- uk>
To: <siliconwriter -at- comcast -dot- net>, "techwhirlers" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2007 10:18:36 -0000

Interesting rant ... I'm somewhere along that path between
piqued-interest and despair myself ... still hoping ...

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+ian -dot- bridge=capita -dot- co -dot- uk -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+ian -dot- bridge=capita -dot- co -dot- uk -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of siliconwriter -at- comcast -dot- net
Sent: 13 March 2007 01:38
To: techwhirlers
Subject: Rant: Giving up on XML

After weeks of research, reading and studying, I'm throwing in the towel
on XML. I was really hoping I could use DocBook to turn the output of
our code documentation software into a manual, but no such luck. The
output from our software (Doxygen) is so idiosyncratic, so impossible to
tweak, that I've been unable to change the page size from A4 to US
letter. I tried using DocBook, only to find that the learning curve is
steep, undocumented and tricky. Doxygen uses LaTeX as its output engine,
and a creakier, more poorly documented, unnecessarily complicated piece
of software I have never seen.

So I'm actually going back to MS Word. There are not enough words in
English to say how much I loathe and despise Word, but I can't justify
spending weeks and weeks more trying to figure out how all the puzzle
pieces of XML, DTDs, XLSTs and other alphabet soup fit together. I'm not
interested in becoming a programmer in order to do my job, which is
writing manuals, not coding stylesheets. My company already sprang for
InDesign (which bombed big time), so I have no hope of persuading them
to go to Framemaker, which I don't want to do anyway. So, it's back to
Word. *head desk*

Until now, I was an eager devotee of open source software. I was trying
to move all our documentation into OpenOffice and other open source
software. Now, not so much. I no longer trust open source, I find it
extremely poorly documented from an end-user point of view, and it
never, ever has all the features I need. The learning curve resembles a
vertical wall.

If any of you fellow tech writers who actually UNDERSTANDS XML ever gets
around to documenting it so that technically savvy but non-programmer
audiences can understand and/or use it, I will be very grateful.

Thanks for listening.
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