Asking for your experiences with SGML

Subject: Asking for your experiences with SGML
From: Chet Ensign <Chet_Ensign%LDS -at- NOTES -dot- WORLDCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 1995 17:19:12 EDT

I am at work on a book titled "SGML in Action," to be published later this year
by Prentice Hall. It explains the business reasons for adopting the Standard
Generalized Markup Language (SGML), using case studies of companies that have
successfully exploited the technology as centerpieces.

Understanding SGML from a technical point of view is not hard at all, but those
technicalities rarely determine its success or failure. The social and
political effects on an organization are much more important in determining
whether it works, and also much harder to analyze.

Although the book's focus is on business issues, I want to incorporate the
experience of the front lines into the discussion. Whence this message. I'd
like to start up a conversation with anyone who has had experience with SGML --
good or bad. (If your experience has been favorable, *please* respond; I doubt
I'll have any trouble finding people whose experience has been un...) It need
not be a long message, just a quick introduction and a note about your
experience. Something to get us started.

Your input will help me to better frame the issues involved for those who make
the go/no go decisions on publishing system purchases. It will help me put
documents into perspective as key corporate resources, something that I don't
think is always obvious to the people at the top.

It will also help me argue the case for better tools. The current generation of
SGML programs, particularly the editors, take away capabilities most writers
have grown used to having (high-quality WYSIWYG displays, formatted page
output) without offering anything of equal or better value in return. By
looking at how successful companies have created a satisfying environment for
writers, and by hearing first-hand about the experience people have had with
the tools, I hope to be able to sketch out the kinds of improvements the SGML
tool vendors must offer the market.

Thanks for listening. I'm looking forward to meeting many of you in person.

Best regards,


Chet Ensign
Logical Design Solutions

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