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   RE: [xml-dev] Does WTSIWYG make simplicity moot? (was Re: [xml-dev] dtds

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  • To: 'Rick Jelliffe' <ricko@allette.com.au>, xml-dev <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Subject: RE: [xml-dev] Does WTSIWYG make simplicity moot? (was Re: [xml-dev] dtds, schemas, xhtml, and multimedia technologies)
  • From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@ingr.com>
  • Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2002 08:58:38 -0600

That's it.  More assistance; fewer surprises.

1.  Visual interfaces are productive.  No contest.

2.  Visual interfaces can be obstructive.  Anyone 
who works with Intellisense has seen times when 
autocomplete features bypass the eye.  The hand 
can be faster leaving invalid syntax behind.  Quotation 
autocompletes are another notorious one.  The best 
Viz systems catch these early.  Unfortuntately, some 
leave them behind so depending on them is as dangerous 
as children who think spell checkers relieve them 
of the need to learn to spell, calculators of the 
need to calculate, and so on.  We never lose the 
need to eyeball the syntax and mentally run the 

3.  The most productive language for the most people 
is  Visual Basic.  The IDEs are a great help 
to those that need it.  As Tony Coates says, not all 
people are solving tricky problems all the time. 
In fact, most of them aren't.  They have specialized 
in one or two products doing a handful of tasks and 
that is the daily grind that pays the bills.  A 
lot of XML-Dev cognoscenti are toolbuilders and 
they are exceptional.  That also means they are a 
significant but small minority.

4.  Abstractions of languages ARE where the visualization 
is important.   XML Schema Basic is probably not tougher 
to learn than DTDs.  On the other hand, if XML Schema 
Basic were all I needed, I'd stick with DTDs for the 
obvious reasons.  XML Schema abstractions are tough 
to learn, take practice to apply (or we wouldn't have 
that big best practices page), and so far, the tools 
are buggy, and do disagree on interpretations of the spec.  
Therefore, one ends up with multiple tools and tests against 
them all.

XML Schemas aren't simple.  Fact.  Most of 
the tools are expensive.  Fact.  One can't force a 
class to buy tools for the class that exceed the 
cost of the class.  Fact.

Like it or not, PFE (my preference), Notepad, VI, 
are here to stay. They are also free, and as one 
who does not drink port, that leaves even more 
spare change for new guitar strings, the only habit 
I have in common with the Cisco Kid.

DTDs are here to stay. They may be applied to large 
jobs less than we once did, but they won't die off 
and the competent XMLer learns how to apply them.  Tools 
don't make them go away.  In Pam's case, the 
XMLValidatingReader class supports them; so .NET 
includes them and she has a way to work with them, 
all from an OK But Not Great visual programming 

Tilt away, folks; the windmills don't care and 
Dulcinea remains an ugly maid.  Back to Fox and 
dreams of C#.


From: Rick Jelliffe [mailto:ricko@allette.com.au]

Putting cost aside, one benefit of direct manipulation interfaces
is in presenting information in views that allow better physical 


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