Subject: SGML
From: Alexander Von_obert <avobert -at- TWH -dot- MSN -dot- SUB -dot- ORG>
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 1995 16:15:03 +0200

Hello Glenda,

* Antwort auf eine Nachricht von Glenda Jeffrey an All am 17.10.95

GJ> From: jeffrey -at- hks -dot- com (Glenda Jeffrey)

GJ> : ** Disadvantages: It takes away your control over how the
GJ> : text looks and how the text fits on the page. It
GJ> demands
GJ> : that you consider content without considering form, the
GJ> : message without the medium.

GJ> No. It demands that you consider content _separately_ from
GJ> form.

I hardly ever consider form then I write text. You couldn't help but work this
way in the Old Days when I upgraded to Word 4 (from a CPT text system). Output
was through a dasy wheel printer and I could program a break and a beep when I
wanted the wheel changed.

Even today I consider contents and form two widely separate topics. E.g., when
I write for magazines, I do tables something like this:


And if I want a paragraph intended with a caption in front, I do something like


((Box start))
((Box stop))

You defenitely have a hard time reading this kind of "formatting", but this
works REALLY great with the DTP people: My files really flow into the layout.
Then they work along the text from top to bottom and primarily add paragraph

GJ> Someone (the document designer) must make decisions up front
GJ> about how the document is to be laid out and presented.

That's about what I do for the DTP operator.

GJ> : It can lead to unrealistic expectations of portability
GJ> : (wow, we can use our brochure as the introduction to
GJ> : our reference manual, our reference manual as our
GJ> : training manual, our training manual as our online
GJ> help...).

GJ> Maybe. I guess you are saying that people start to expect that
GJ> the
GJ> same information can do triple duty without rewriting. That's
GJ> not SGML's fault -- you can make the same bad assumptions with
GJ> FrameMaker or Word. Remember cut and paste?

As long as you simply use a SGML editor, you hardly get any support for things
like that. If you need it, you need a database publishing system based on
SGML. And exactly here, present SGML technology gets really tough and

GJ> : Advantages: It's sexy.
GJ> Actually, it's really not. SGML as a "language" (many people
GJ> will argue
GJ> that it is not a language, and they have valid points) is
GJ> pretty clunky.

SGML really prevents many "creative" ideas. Your DTD gives you certain
structures, you cannot create others. You have no chance to recycle some
existing gadgets in a creative way, because you have no real control over
formatting. And the technology below the surface is not so polished as you
might be used to.

SGML reduces the freedom of the writer.

Greetings from Germany,

|Fidonet: Alexander Von_obert 2:2490/1719
|Internet: avobert -at- twh -dot- msn -dot- sub -dot- org

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