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Re: experts

Tim, as I've said many times XML 1.0 is Good.

The nice thing about XML 1.0 is that there's a ramp. I can use my HTML
skills with just a few extra bits to write valid XML. When I want to do
more, the spec usually tells me how to do it.

Mazel tov.

However if you want to make something good and accessible to non-experts, to
busy people who primarily do other things, imho you have to listen to those
people. I remember the first time I did a demo for a non-expert (to continue
to use the terminology of this thread) and was horrified when he asked if we
could switch seats and he could use my "easy to use" software. It didn't
work. And it changed *my* perception of what "easy to use" was all about. If
you don't test your theories, as any scientist knows, the theories are

Today I'm appalled that people keep asking if Manila is a separate product
from Frontier, I mutter to myself "Read the @*#& website dammit it says it
clearly." Well they're still smart people but they're busy and confused. The
simplest most clearly stated things are confusing to some people. If I want
my work to be relevant to busy smart people who aren't experts in my field I
must listen. That's all I've really learned in all this time.

Joel Spolsky is coming out with a book on this subject any day now. I wrote
the preface for his book. Here it is.


Joel is a former member of Microsoft's Excel team, and his book is a gem in
explaining the wall we communicate over with users and how to climb it so
your work will be more relevant. Even for a crusty old fart like me there
were some great lessons in Joel's book. Highly recommended.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Tim Bray" <tbray@textuality.com>
To: <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2001 12:59 AM
Subject: Re: experts

> At 07:40 PM 27/03/01 -0800, Dave Winer wrote:
> >Simon's argument, and mine, are consistent with your definition. We have
> >plenty of people with a high degree of knowledge of a certain subject.
> >we need more of are people who actually do the work. You know, the people
> >the trenches. Dave
> Hmm, if you look at the original XML working group (from memory, sorry)
> Bosak: made his pre-XML name building good big techdoc web sites
> Bray: Codes occasionally, talks incessantly
> Clark: Well, yes
> Connolly: Technical guy compromised by process expertise
> DeRose: Heavily published in every CompSci journal worth mentioning, and
>         one of very few human beings to have made money with SGML
> Hollander: Publishing heavy, did hp.com in his spare time
> Kimber: Implemented much of HyTime in VB
> Maler: Arguably world's leading DTD expert
> Murata: Understands hedge automata and modal verbs
> Paoli: Editing-centric SGML hack
> Sperberg-McQueen: Theory-heavy, publishing-centric
> Sharpe: Wrote Author/Editor and *MetaL descendents
> I guess this supports Dave's point.  -Tim
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