Re: the cost of SGML

Subject: Re: the cost of SGML
From: Simon North <snorth -at- TEDOPRES -dot- NL>
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 1996 08:40:03 GMT

Chet, it can be argued (and I do) that one of the ancillary benefits of
adopting SGML is that the production of one or more DTDs, and the
accompanying analyses, necessitate a process approach. The resulting
work can be catalytic in bringing the true costs of information processing
(information in its' original, pre-computing days) and documentation
production.

I have wrestled with the problems of justifying the cost of documentation
efforts (including my own presence on the payroll) many times over the
years until a stint as a software quality assurance engineer stuck my nose
in the fact that the very point that it is difficult to identify the costs
_is_ the problem. As TAs we _all_ have our suspicions ... even certainties
that vast sums of money are being thrown at documentation - and often thrown
away.

Adopting SGML _is_ extremely expensive, and a company cannot often know how
expensive until it starts. Meantime it is (whatever it's using) probably
already spending a fortune on other tools and technologies ... and doesn't
have a _clue_ what that is costing it.

The adoption of SGML is, IMNSHO, a perfect way of getting a grip on
documentation costs and of approaching it as an _engineering_ activity.

Simon North
Documentation Engineer.

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