Re: Rant: Giving up on XML

Subject: Re: Rant: Giving up on XML
From: Diane Brennan <dalaine00 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Steve Read <steve -at- readonly -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2007 20:21:11 -0700 (PDT)

Welcome to the programming writer club!

----- Original Message ----
From: Steve Read <steve -at- readonly -dot- com>
To: Diane Brennan <dalaine00 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2007 5:37:48 PM
Subject: Re: Rant: Giving up on XML

Diane Brennan wrote:
> I agree with Janice that this decision depends on the type of writing environment you are in. It may not make sense to convert documentation to a new tool if you are part of a small writing group in a small company. But for large companies with many writing groups that make monthly deliveries of new or updated docs to the Web (as Web pages, not PDFs), XML makes more sense.
> But XML is not difficult to learn. Two contracts ago I wrote documents in raw XML in an IDE and it was just as fast as writing in any other authoring environment.
Yes. I am a one-person writing department in a small company, and the
first time I used tag languages, the names ended in "roff." Because of
my past experiences at big companies using "pure" XML editors such as
XMetal and Epic, I was predisposed to using such a tool. But the
overhead and upfront costs to get going are huge, and I had neither the
time nor the money to invest. I have deadlines of last month for
everything I'm doing.

I chose to go with structured Framemaker and WebWorks EPublisher. I can
be productive right out of the box, and I can create tightly-structured
docs (a big component of my workload is API docs, which lend themselves
to tight structure). I figure that, should the tools mature to the point
where I don't have to write macros to print or to create HTML, I'll have
a set of structured docs that will be relatively painless to migrate to
a new authoring environment. Or not. We'll see.

Steve Read

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