Subject: Re: SGML
From: Chet Ensign <Chet_Ensign%LDS -at- NOTES -dot- WORLDCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 1995 11:11:09 LCL

Alexander writes,

>> SGML really prevents many "creative" ideas.
Maybe. But I don't think so. Especially where the content developers are also
the owners of the system.

>>Your DTD gives you certain structures, you cannot create others.
Not true. Actually, there's nothing to prevent you from defining local
additions or variations to the DTD in the current document you are writing. It
takes familiarity with the DTD you are using, but it can be done and, in fact,
is a headache for the maintainers of some SGML systems. The trick of course is
that if you change the way the information is structured to fit your local idea
of what you want to do, you have no way of knowing what you have just broken

>>You have no chance to recycle some existing gadgets in a creative way,
Not true. Better chance of recycling with SGML than without.

>> because you have no real control over formatting.
Depends on the product you are using. Word or FrameMaker+SGML will really let
you do all the formatting you are used to doing for the paper -- it simply
isn't reflected in the SGML that is output. Actually, with the current crop of
hybrid products now coming out, you can really have the best of both worlds.

>>And the technology below the surface is not so polished as you might be used
Absolutely! Most of the products are still too expensive, require too much
expertise to set up and install, and seem to take away too much 'creativity'
from the writers -- although I'd say that's an implementation problem, not a
flaw in SGML itself.

The SGML industry grew itself on big mission-critical systems where cost was
not an issue. When you compare the costs for a distributed SGML system against,
say, a big IBM DCF setup, it looks like a bargain. But when you're used to
networked PCs and $495 word processors, SGML looks like highway robbery.

New products are changing this dramatically. But the technology still has a
ways to go to come up to speed.



Chet Ensign

Logical Design Solutions
571 Central Avenue
Murray Hill, NJ 07974 cworl -at- lds -dot- com [email]
908-771-9221 [Phone] 908-771-0430 [FAX]

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