Re: SGML & The Technical Writer

Subject: Re: SGML & The Technical Writer
From: Susan Fowler <sfowler -at- EJV -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 1994 14:55:29 EDT

Gerry's quote is not out of context--that's the problem. I've heard an expert
say it in an SGML meeting here in New York and one of the Tech Comm writers (in
the first set of papers Liora Alschuler edited) repeated it in her paper.

Also, I'm not saying Postscript is the ultimate solution. However, it works, and
getting it accepted in the market didn't seem to require a lot of beating
around the head and shoulders.

Interleaf and Framemaker RIGHT NOW solve the problems of cross-platform display
and file manipulation. Plus they both have SGML filters for those of us who are
forced to use SGML. Why struggle, for heaven's sake?

I, too, look forward to the day when SGML is the native format for all word
processors--there's no good reason that w-p's should differentiate themselves
in the marketplace by proprietary formats. I have one caveat, however: SGML
forces a particular structure on a document (head1>head2>head3>etc.), which is
what leads to all these error-message interruptions. (The ideal SGML system
would be one in which you turn off the structure checking while you write, then
turn it on when you're ready to do a final version--like a spell-checker or
grammar-checker, but in this case a structure-checker.)

As for jumping through hoops: why don't we ask TECHWR-LIST for some real data?
Estimated time before SGML project started, actual time required, and are you
satisfied with the results?


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