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I think both views are right - the text is the only true way, but
starting and ending in visual is a very powerful accelerator.
My newbie opinion is that visual XML tools helped me understand and
learn by comparing visual to the text.
However, once you understand the concepts and are sure enough of
yourself to know what you are doing and how to do it, you have a choice
- learn the tool really well so it becomes intuitive and you know its
quirks, or do it by hand. I usually find that the tool gets in the way.
However, because XML schemas seems verbose to me, and because I
typically am starting from a relational database - for me it helps using
the import database features so I don't misspell things, and then make
modifications by hand, still in the tool. So even though I am in a
visual tool, I'm using it as a text editor. Then I use the visual
graphics to see if it still makes sense to me and use the tool to check
to see if it is well formed.
You are right, it seems to me, the tools never quite get the right
abstraction without modification. My hope is the tools will improve in
Please check out the "Wow! Look At Windows XP" book I wrote at
From: Paul Prescod [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 10:45 AM
To: Anthony B. Coates; xml-dev
Subject: Re: [xml-dev] dtds, schemas, xhtml, and multimedia technologies
Anthony B. Coates wrote:
> ... Yeah,
> yeah, you *can* create it with text editors, and Emacs can do a better
> job than vi or Notepad, but don't give me this old line about viewing
> the source being the only true and pure way to do things. It's fine
> for xml-dev readers, the cogniscenti, but in terms of empowering more
> of the world to contribute to the development of schemas, it's a
> complete failure. It only reinforces the woeful trend for more and
> more of the important technical work of this world being done by fewer
> and fewer people.
I think that it is a fallacy that visual is always easier than textual.
The right abstraction is always easier than the wrong abstraction, and
visual tools can often be powerful accelerators when paired with the
right abstraction. But my hackles go up when visual tools are used to
hide the fact that you are using the wrong (too complex) abstraction.
That's at best a short-term fix that bites you in the ass eventually.
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