Re: Giving up on XML

Subject: Re: Giving up on XML
From: Sean Wheller <sean -at- inwords -dot- co -dot- za>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2007 19:29:35 +0200

On Tuesday 20 March 2007 16:04, Chris Borokowski wrote:
> I'm not sure strictly template-based document design
> in Word is WYSIWYG... to me, that implies the
> Macintosh model of constantly clicking buttons marked
> Bold and Italic.
> One of the cooler things about recent developments in
> the Word camp is the number of libraries now available
> for programmers to manipulate .doc files without
> getting all icky and having to custom-code an
> interpreter. Not only can you opt to use strictly
> logical containers in Word files, which in my view is
> the ONLY way to survive such a product, but you can
> extract and organize content without much more hassle
> than if it were XML.

There is a set of stylesheets for word > docbook > word rountrip. In my
experience this just wasted time in the whole process. I am of the school
that thinks that once a document is in presentation format, it should never
be edited again. If you want to make changes go back to the docbook and do it
there. That said I also understand that many writers find it disconcerting to
write in a non-WYSIWYG interface.

For me, if I want to edit a plain old XML file (essentially text) I dont
really want the whole of Word and a template. The Document Type Definition is
the rule guide and the stylesheets give presentation format. When editing in
XML I cannot apply semantics that are wrong, the XML editor just wont allow
it. In word it is all too easy to do so, no matter how strict you make the
template. Trying to debug a word document to discover where a style was
applied incorrectly is time consuming. In XML the doc is either valid and
well-formed or it is not and any good XML editor will pickup the line where
incorrect semantics have been applied.

The best and most affordable solution to editing XML in a near word processor
environment is Syntext Serna []. I cant see the point
of using word and forcing author discipline to apply correct styles in word,
when we have such a tool as Serna :-)

Sean Wheller
Technical Author
email: sean -at- inwords -dot- co -dot- za
im: seanwhe -at- jabber -dot- org
skype: seanwhe
cel: +27-84-854-9408

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Re: Giving up on XML: From: Chris Borokowski

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