RE: Giving Up on XML

Subject: RE: Giving Up on XML
From: eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2007 10:25:07 -0500

Klasovsky, Nick wrote:
> We don't want to have stop what we're doing to get under the hood of
> tools and write custom scripts to do what most commercial software does
> for us. We also work for employers who don't give us budgets and staff
> to do programming for something that we can do in Word or our publishing
> software. A lot of us out here work in industries other than IT, so the
> programmers we may have in house don't do publishing software and don't
> know what XML is. They are too busy writing controls software. Our
> employers don't think spending a lot of time and money fiddling with
> publishing software adds much value to what we do, and our users could
> care less if we use Word or XML to publish the information they need.

> Like other posters have said, when it is all reduced to an all-in-one
> program that costs no more than Framemaker and doesn't require outside
> consultants to set up and maintain, then it may be widely adopted. Until
> then it is still no more than a programmer's dream and a user's
> nightmare.

Imagine for a moment that you had no publishing or editing software. How
much time will it take to select a product, set it up, and then design
your templates for it? How long will it take you to learn the TOC features
and scripting possibilities? How much will it take to get the workflow
right so that you produce consistent professional results?

Documentation done efficiently and right requires effort and a learning
curve. We're just comfortably familiar with Word, FrameMaker, or whatever
other tool(s) we use. Try to switch from one tool to another and get
similar results. Try and impose a new template on legacy documents. Both
are large projects that are no easier than getting a structured authoring
environment up and running.

Don't use "focusing on our job and avoiding consultants" as an excuse to
attack or put-down structured authoring. Many consultants specialize in
Word, FrameMaker, and a host of HTML and help programs all of which are

Eric L. Dunn
Senior Technical Writer


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