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   Re: Looking for a redistributable XML editor

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  • From: Peter Murray-Rust <peter@ursus.demon.co.uk>
  • Date: Thu, 08 Oct 1998 10:10:15

[Crossposted to XML-DEV. Please reply to that list if you are actually
offering concrete help, otherwise here].

Yesterday I asked if there were any freely redistributable XML editors that
I could use for teaching XML at a complete beginner level. The answers I
have got so far are:

	- emacs. But it is very large and not easily to distribute. Also some
people find it difficult to use. Probably too complex for a 1-day course

	- errrrm, that's it. 

Not even a simple WF-editor.

This leaves me feeling depressed. The only solution is for me to write one
in JUMBO. [JUMBO already does structural editing and can edit single PCDATA
children, but it's rather ucky at present.] It needs a single pane where
elements can be selected and tagged. And the tags have editable attributes.
That's all. Should take a weekend.

	Would anyone be interested [*]?

I'm sad, because there clearly isn't any groundswell [apart from a few
oddballs like me] to develop XML as a populist approach, as HTML was. It's
envisaged that innovation and tools will only come from commercial
companies and that the prime use of XML is with high quality commercial
tools. [I get mails saying "we do this with
Omnimark/AuthorEditor/SoftQuad... etc., why don't you?". Guess.] Of course
there is a huge volume of very high quality XML freeware that I applaud
frequently and loudly, but it doesn't seem to be targeted at increasing the
populist uptake of XML.

If we cannot even provide simple tools for people to learn how to author WF
XML documents, no wonder it is slower than we thought.

It was recently suggested that some members of XML-DEV [which I moderate]
are condescending. I don't think this is fair. Many of them have been
enormously helpful on frequent occasions and many have contributed
enormously to the freeware and other resources. I think the
misunderstanding is that they come from fully equipped SGML (sic)
backgrounds where their employers or their business have already bought
SGML tools and they have no urgent need to worry about the next generation
of XML tools at this stage. They are steeped in in-house SGML and their
view of XML is necessarily coloured by this. What we want is a larger
membership from outside the SGML community with the same populist
enthusiasm as there was for HTML. Perhaps we should go out to lists on
www.* and do some marketing, rather than simply being tied to the
commercial model.

BTW the first GUI HTML editing tool was written by a graduate student, Joe
Wang (tkWWW). [Joe also developed the Globewide Network Academy and I
cannot praise him too highly.] You don't have to be in a company to write
XML software.


[*] How many of you interpreted this as "I would be interested in helping
with this?" - rather than "I would be interested if PeterMR did the work"
:-)? But the latter will also be valuable to know :-)

Peter Murray-Rust, Director Virtual School of Molecular Sciences, domestic
net connection
VSMS http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/vsms, Virtual Hyperglossary

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