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   Re: [xml-dev] "Smart ASCII" -> XML for authoring?

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"Rick Jelliffe" <ricko@allette.com.au> writes:

> From: "Bill Lindsey" <bill@b-bop.com>
> [...]
> > I don't expect the casual user to ever become comfortable
> > with angle brackets, 
> But is XML used by "casual users"?    Or is XML more like 
> programming languages, where there is arguably no such thing
> as a "casual programmer" (i.e., someone who starts
> programming without any specific knowledge of what they are
> doing)  in the way that there is a casual user of a bus (who only 
> needs the skill of sitting down). [...]

I think that's a nice analogy, and maybe the problem isn't with
"casual users" needing to learn XML per se, but with needing to learn
a markup vocabulary that offers more explicit structure and logical
distinctions between of bits of content than they're accustomed to.

In the case of documentation authoring, most writers have been able to
get by using authoring systems that don't require them to think much
about their content's structure or logical distinctions, or to make
those distinctions explicit.

And now that many writers are being asked to learn how to mark up
their content in such a way that the structure/logical distinctions
are explicit, maybe some believe they'll find a simple-text or WYSIWYG
system that will add the structure and logical distinctions for them.

But if programmers don't expect to find simple systems to hand-hold
them through the process of writing code for complex applications --
things to add logic to their code for them where there was none
before-- why should writers expect simple-text or WYSIWYG authoring
systems to hand-hold them through the process of writing documentation
for those applications -- magic things to add logical distinctions to
their information for them, where there was none before?

Michael Smith, Tokyo, Japan    http://sideshowbarker.net

Both flowers and weeds spring when the sun is warm,
And great men do great good or else great harm.

  --John Webster (The White Devil, ca. 1610)


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