Re: question re XML DITA editors

Subject: Re: question re XML DITA editors
From: jimmy -at- breck-mckye -dot- com
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2012 13:37:52 +0000

I tried Serna about 18 months ago, and I wasn't keen.

I'm struggling to remember my exact gripes, but I don't think there was any one dealbreaker, just lots of niggles. For example:
- Inserting elements is a bit of a pain (but this is an issue I've faced with almost all XML editors)
- exporting to PDF meant tinkering with several third-party plugins
- a few little stability issues on by 64 bit machine

I didn't think it was *bad*, just that it still had some rough edges.

Other tools that people are happy with and recommend that I take a look at ?

I quite liked working with a French XML editor called JAXE. I was pleased with the UI, which made handling and inserting elements a snap and writing new schemas very straightforward. JAXE allows you to write special schemas that manipulate its interface - eg certain whitespace for certain elements, or custom menus for commonly used elements. It's free (and open source), too.

It was all for nothing, though, because not long after I left (another small startup like yours), I'm told my successor spurned XML as 'too hard to understand' and re-wrote everything in Microsoft Word, complete with clipart and inline styles. Which brings me onto a serious point - XML solutions don't tend to get buy in from non-writer colleagues. That could influence your decision.

On 10.02.2012 11:07, Alison Wyld wrote:
Hello,

I lurked (and occasionally contributed) on this list in the 90s and early
00s before my career moved in a different direction...

Now I find myself for the first time in several years working with a small
software startup that is scratching its head and wondering how they ought
to be doing documentation.

One option we're looking into is XML (DITA flavor) and one thing we're
researching is tool choice. I'm seeing a lot of buzz around Oxygene, and
it seems to provide a lot of what they need for a reasonable cost. (wysiwig
type editing, integration into a development lifecycle that involves coding
in Eclipse and Archive/Versioning in SVN.)

But like all startups, they'd really like tools to be free, so they've
asked me to look into Serna. I've trawled the archives, but don't see
anything terribly recent.

So does anyone out there have some current experience with the free version
of Serna ? How does it stand up to the paying verison of Serna and/or to
Oxygene ? Hidden costs and gotchas ?

Other tools that people are happy with and recommend that I take a look at ?

Many thanks for any pointers

Alison Wyld
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question re XML DITA editors: From: Alison Wyld

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