Re: Frame to XML, SGML + Learning Curve

Subject: Re: Frame to XML, SGML + Learning Curve
From: Chris Despopoulos <cud -at- ARRAKIS -dot- ES>
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 1999 11:42:53 +0200

Virgil Jones <virgil_jones -at- EMAIL -dot- COM> asks:

Does anyone know of any tools that convert
FrameMaker documents into SGML and XML? I
know HTML, but I've never seen or used SGML or

FrameMaker will do both. Well, Maker will write out XML,
and Maker+SGML will do both. Maker+SGML will READ IN SGML,
and neither product will read in XML.

Also, how hard is it to learn SGML and XML? Where
would you learn these languages:
Bay Area Colleges, books (Dummies books), Websites
etc. I have to make a case to the
powers that be that it may not be as simple as
they think. They have this notion that
its a matter of simple conversion.

Try ... Yes
indeedie, your powers that be are in conflict with powers
such as Charles Goldfarb, the military, and all those
standards comittees that have determined that it is not as
easy as a smiple conversion. Consider this... SGML gives
you incredible power to process your documents, but comes at
the cost of rigorously defining your document structure.
You can show your people the various DTDs that are out there
if you want to scare them.

That said, XML should be more like a simple conversion. I
guess it depends on what your people want to do with it...
The more processing power they want, the more they need to
define the document structure (IMHO). But if all they want
is glorified HTML (after all, XML qualifies as a buzz word
by now), then they can simply convert Maker docs to XML.

How to learn XML? Not sure, since I have still failed to
take the time to do that... I'm still behind the curve on
XML. I learned SGML by doing it. A good place to start is
by learning Maker+SGML, which is where I started since I had
to document the darned thing. The skills and mind-set are
very similar, even though it is NOT actually SGML that you
will learn. But they map fairly closely. One thing I have
found is that it is always easier to learn something if you
NEED to learn it. A pleasant side effect of that need is
that you get paid, which does wonders for your concentration
and discipline. But I say go to the web site and look for
overview stuff first. Then get into as much detail as is
germaine to your situation.

Another question that pops to mind is do browsers
support either of these languages?

There are proprietary browsers that support SGML. Also,
Maker+SGML can read, format, and display SGML files
(basically what a browser does). As for XML, I think
MS_Explorer either does, or plans to. Does NetScape, too?
(Anybody? Anybody?) I suspect the web site also lists
browser support.

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