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Re: MS Word as XML editor?

"Soumitra Sengupta, Ph.D." wrote:

> While you make a very good point, the reality is that the cost of
> retraining millions of MS-Office users to use powerful XML Editors is
> enormous.  But the benefits of getting content into XML for reuse is
> huge.  It can save organizations tons of money by reducing manual
> cutting and pasting and errors in re-entering.

If Word is not an economically viable way of collecting new data, then
it is the wrong tool for the job. All the familiarity in the world won't
help if the data cannot be made accesible at a reasonable cost, so in
these situations, the users will just have to learn to use something

>  What is wrong if we can get a large part of the way there by using
> domain specific constraints and then installing a less laborious and
> less cumbersome process of "cleaning up markup errors".  You can not
> argue that it does not have value although it may not be perfect?

No, but I wouldn't mind seeing some statistics on the cost of retraining
users compared to building an application that leverages from their
existing knowledge. Cleaning up markup errors is exactly what I spent
almost all of the past decade doing, but if I was asked whether a
company would be better off adopting that approach for the long-term or
retraining their workforce and spending the money up front, I wouldn't
need to spend a lot of time thinking about it. Ask anyone you know who
works on computers in any capacity how many new applications they've
worked with in the past year - it's not that big a deal.

>  As for the programming for different types of documents, one way to
> address it is XSLT and a good XSLT development tool.

So you would suggest that Word->generic XML->specific XML->error
correction is comparable to retraining then going directly to XML?
Granted, there's a crossover point where the number of users and
complexity of data make this viable, but it's not ideal for the long
term. What happens if RTF changes, as it has many times in the past?
Eliminating application reliance is one of the major end-games.

> But then I am biased.

Me too - I've seen enough RTF to sink a boat, but as hard as I jump on
it, I can't get the damned thing below the waterline...:-)


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