----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, May 19, 2001 12:12
Subject: RE: XML word processors and
the SW (was Re: First Order Logic .. .)
Joel Rees wrote:
> My company is betting that
there will be a large range of
> which one would rather not have the DTD in
> I tend to
figure that DTD-less is an intermediate step,
something to use
> while trying to get a grasp of
what a document class should
> include and
> it should not.
> When I think of writing XML documents with a word
processor, I imagine
> formatting some piece, then
selecting a range and assigning a
> of my choosing to it. The word processor
should split the
> semantic XML from
> the formatting XML, then save the format as an XSL
> and the semantic
> as straight XML.
> An automatic DTD generator should eat a batch of similar
> files (possibly
built from a single original as a template) and spit the DTD
> out as whatever
> is needed to describe
everything in the batch.
> When editing the doc, a palette would appear showing the
> current set of tags
not made directly manipulable by the current XSL.
> So, following this line of reasoning, SW would
simply take a
> DTD and allow
> selecting a node/nodeset and attaching some attributes or
> child elements
specify some common/standard qualitative semantic?
> How far in the future am I imagining?
I know Microsoft is doing the
about Word saving as XML. Any bets (or
> whether they have even considered
I believe you are proposing a way to automate the creation of
DTDs. My intuition says that useful authoring DTDs express ideas that are, so
far, too difficult for practical algorithms to create.
However, once you have the DTD, the question is not "Should I
offer to the author a set of semantics and content rules?", but rather "Should
I require that the author be constrained within the limits of a model during
the writing process?" Most authors answer No. Almost everyone who bears the
cost of document processing answers Yes.
You ask about Microsoft. They have considered the semantics
issue deeply and they have addressed their need with XMetaL. Microsoft
purchased an enterprise license for XMetaL and is making widespread use of it
in some very interesting ways.
Fortunately, there is something in it for authors too. The
model, in addition to constraint, offers a structure on which useful
programmatic behaviors can be created for use during authoring. There are
hardly any documents, at least in the business world, whose creation cannot be
facilitated by partial automation. That's the major economic driver behind the
use of XML for rich content and Microsoft's decision to purchase an authoring
tool that is also a developer's platform.