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   Re: XML Editor recommendation?

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  • From: Simon North <north@synopsys.COM>
  • To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
  • Date: Wed, 22 Nov 2000 12:23:53 +0100


I'm sure the others on the list will give you other ideas, but I'll try 
and give you my insights as a professional tech writer working in a 
large pubs department that could be comparable. 

As I see it, you have a trade-off between expensive packages that 
will hide the XML behind a nice user interface (Frame+SGML) or a 
lot of cheaper packages that will hide the XML but give less GUI 
support, to cheap packages that give you the raw XML with little or 
no user interface. Basically, from high to low:

1. Adobe's Frame+SGML will hide everything from the user, but at 
the cost of requiring you to expend significant time and effort in 
creating the proprietory application to support it. Expensive. 

2. SoftQuad's XMetaL will hide nearly everything, but allow you to 
choose whether you work in WYSIWYG or code mode. Some time 
and effort are needed to create the proprietory application. Medium 

3. XMLSpy, or similar, will give you a minimal GUI and direct 
exposure of the XML code, but will require little or no time or effort 
to set up. (The developers in Redmond told me that MS XML 
Notepad was written by an intern; it was never meant to be 
released as a 'real' package.) Medium to low cost.

To quote an old adage: 'you pays your money and makes your 
choices'.  In this case, none of the packages is a perfect choice, it 
comes down to where and how you want to spend your money and 
how important ease of use is. 

In contrast to these off-the-shelf solutions, I'd like to suggest an 

1. Let your users continue to use MS Word, but push / persuade / 
coerce / train them into using styles in a structured and disciplined 

2. Convert the structured MS Word documents (via RTF) into XML 
... there are a few really excellent conversion packages around.  

My ten cents.

Simon North.
The *other* XML writer.


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