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

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Simon St.Laurent writes:

 > 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.

I've seen large teams of writers at several organizations creating and
maintaining content in SGML and XML, but it's neither cheap, fast, nor
easy to get there -- a generic markup authoring system that actually
works requires an enormous investment in every sense, including months
or even years of user testing.

In specialized fields like lexicography or heavily regulated technical
documentation (airliners, legislation, etc.), the writers themselves
have to transfer a lot of information to the page beyond the text
itself.  Traditionally, they've done that through complicated style
guides; using XML or SGML editors actually makes their lives a easier
in the long run (they don't have to remember whether to use italics or
slant type for a caution in the subparagraph of a procedure, for
example), but there can be a lot of initial hostility at having to
abandon the old way and start on a new one.

For many other areas, such as journalism or consumer computer books,
most of the information is in the text itself, and editors or layout
artists have traditionally added formatting after the writer was
finished, for aesthetic rather than semantic reasons.  Generic markup
is a harder sell there because, as Rick pointed out and Simon echoed,
it adds to the writers' workload by making them do something they
didn't have to worry about before.

All the best,


David Megginson, david@megginson.com, http://www.megginson.com/


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