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   Re: [xml-dev] Suggestions for a slightly less verbose (and easier to au

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From: "Paul Prescod" <paul@prescod.net>

> Actually, it was the creators of XML who decided not to keep any of
> them. 
> You can get the full story from one of the "fathers of XML":
> http://www.lists.ic.ac.uk/hypermail/xml-dev/xml-dev-May-1998/0311.html

This is a really good quote because it clearly shows that XML was not developed
as an editing syntax but as a processing syntax.

It was (and still) standard practise in most organizations that use SGML to
normalize the SGML before shipping it or processing it, for the kinds of reasons
Jon mentioned.  

But the issue of whether normalized tagged documents are easy or efficient
to create in a text editor is utterly distinct.  It is a GOMS issue, a UI issue, an
HCI issue, a tools issue.  Everything except an issue of what syntax is good for
the DPH.

Many people naturally want to hope that QUASIWYG editing is the way to go,
that it has relieved us from the additional burdon of well-formedness.  Front-page
and other HTML tools do show that if we spend a few million dollars, we can
get excellent QASIWYG editors that are very pleasant to use for a particular
Document Type. And many of the excellent configurable QASIWYG structured editors allow us to make stylesheets fairly easily.  But that then requires training, maintenance, deployment and sometimes programmers; this is probably fine if you have the resources and skills available, and you  are working on only a single document type.

But if you have to work with multiple, evolving document types or have deadlines
and tight budgets/resources, then the economics and practicalities can be utterly different.  When you edit with a text editor, then terseness is of extreme importance.

In my own area of interest, if you are doing markup (automated or in a text editor)
you typically hunt for patterns and the add tags at those points: it is usually unlikely
that you can find a pattern that readily corresponds to an end-tag (except for
inline elements and some containers such as lists). The time the document
is WF or valid is the time you have finished work on it and are shipping it
(as XML) to the next bloke. 

I don't know how many times I have heard people say "Oh, but everyone needs an
XML editor that generates WF-XML" closely followed by "But, of course,
I just use a text editor, but that is because of ...(fill in rationalization here)"  :-)

Simon's point is also good here: when using a text-editor or a forgiving tool,
a lot of the advantage over WF tools comes from good work practises.

Rick Jelliffe
Topologi Pty. Ltd.


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