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Re: Open Source XML Editor

"Bullard, Claude L (Len)" wrote:

> What Alshuler missed as I recall was that many tech
> writers were stuck like tractors in a muddy bog by
> the writing standards they had been using.  It was
> part of the problem of the 38784/28001 roadblocks
> put up to doing interactive technical manuals.

Perhaps the SGML versions of your MIL specs didn't mimic common practice as well
as our 5629A initiative did in Australia...:-)

> Today, the almost shocking thing is that
> so many of them won't give up WinHelp or WinHelp tools.
> A LOT of software companies are still grinding out
> hypertext that is mundane and production-intensive because
> the tech writer leads and their managers refuse to use
> database-driven systems.

It's easy to be dismissive of tech writers, but consider the changes that
they've already been subjected to. In the span of a single career some writers
have gone from typewriters to writing galleys on computer, to learning word
processors to learning SGML/XML, and now we bemoan the fact that they won't hurl
themselves head first into more technology? All this on top of the fact that
their fundamental purpose is to act as a subject matter expert.

I believe that a split is inevitable, whereby we will have to reinsert an IT
layer in the document creation process and go back to specialist writers. (I
hope the new layer will be largely software, not human. If it is, it's still
some way off.) We assume that writers should embrace our toolset - are we as
confident that we could perform their jobs?


Marcus Carr                      email:  mrc@allette.com.au
Allette Systems (Australia)      www:    http://www.allette.com.au
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
       - Einstein