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 20:54:37 -0700 (PDT)

I just went back to the XMetal site because I was curious about whether it prints out XML documents, and it has a new version (at least, I've never heard of it before), called XMetaL for EMC Documentum. Yup, it can print out a version to Documentum for old-timie print manuals (it has the Documentum client), as well as printing out to PDF, online help, CD-ROM, and Web pages. It also creates an interactive review version of the doc that can be edited online by reviewers.

9/2006 Press release:

XMetaL Author 5.0 improves content quality, value and accuracy for the enterprise by providing a flexible and easily customized interface that enables content authors to create valid XML content that can be shared across the enterprise, automatically published, and efficiently translated. The ability to effectively focus on content instead of format also improves staff efficiency to speed the time-to-market of information materials. XMetaL -- used standalone or integrated with any of several leading content management and publishing systems -- can be used by any writer or reviewer, even without XML knowledge.

If anyone on the list is using this version of XMetaL, could you please provide a review?

----- 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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