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   Re: [xml-dev] Re: Are the publishing users happy? Why not?

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ricko@allette.com.au (Rick Jelliffe) writes:
>> "Fortunately, it turned out that when developers are
>> happy, they write lots of software, and that ends up making users
>> happy as well."
>That there is a lot of potential software I would not dispute.

You've certainly done your best to realize that potential through your
work at Topologi.  If everyone on xml-dev was writing editors....

In particular, I think this (later) comment gets a lot right:
>I think the killer is the idea that you should do text entry
>(authoring) and markup all at the same time (rather than, say, text
>entry with just enough markup to help your writing flow rather than
>distract you).  That just overloads people.

This is an important insight, and it marks a boundary between different
ways of looking at markup.  A lot of developers see XML editing as
filling structured containers with appropriate content, and the
containers should more or less guide you as to the content.  This can
mean that a huge amount of detail needs to be dealt with at one pass,
and it often has meant that developers create interfaces which are
actually more difficult to use than paper forms.  Leaving markup for
later lets people focus on the information as they see it rather than
forcing them from the outset into someone else's preferred boxes.

I worry that too much of "XML development" has focused on approaches
that are convenient for computers and programmers and not nearly enough
has focused on how people want to work.  Tree-based interfaces and
expectations that authors _want_ to work with metadata both seem oddly

About the most I've been able to get non-XML people to do consistently -
and not always consistently at that - is to apply Word styles to
content.  Even there, they almost always get paragraph-level styling
right and leave out lots of character-level styling.  I guess we'll get
to see how easy Word's upcoming XML features prove for ordinary users.

>And certainly not to slag off at XForms.

I'm not sure why the HTML world's effort to provide decent interfaces
that never really evolved on the XML side is worth slagging.  Strange.
XDocs/InfoPath was worth looking at during XML 2003, and I guess we'll
see where all these ideas lead in the next year or two.

Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!
http://simonstl.com -- http://monasticxml.org


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