OASIS Mailing List ArchivesView the OASIS mailing list archive below
or browse/search using MarkMail.


Help: OASIS Mailing Lists Help | MarkMail Help



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

[ Lists Home | Date Index | Thread Index ]

ndw@nwalsh.com (Norman Walsh) writes:
>And yet I've watched [writers] spend hours tinkering with formatting in
>their WYSIWYG tools, despite the fact they've been told that all the
>formatting is going to get discarded.

A well-designed set of labeled styles can help a lot here, actually.  I
find that many of these writers really want their prose to _look_ like
it will on the final printed page, and that desire can be used to lure
them down the path of labeled structures.  Character-level habits are
much harder to break than paragraph-level habits, but there's occasional
cause for hope.

One prospect that I've really hoped to see emerge - and may yet get to
see - is editable but very different views of the same document.  I had
a publisher that at one point insisted that I use a new template for my
book, saying that it had been optimized for the production editors.  It
was pretty horrible, seeming to emphasize places where the most things
went wrong, and really killed my interest in writing for a while.
Fortunately, enough writers complained that they went back to the old
template within about a month.

Now that I'm on the other side of that fence, editing most of the time,
I can see what the production folks wanted.    We have all kinds of cool
tools for getting from (Word | XML) -> Frame -> (Word | XML), but they
all (apart from raw DocBook) present the information in a form as close
to final presentation as possible.

Most of the programming I'm doing right now (not the editing/authoring
part) is devoted to making these kinds of multi-view approaches easy, or
at least easier. Presentation makes a huge difference in how I approach
information.  While I hate to admit this in a reply to Norm Walsh, I'm
hoping the XML features in Word 11 that MSFT was showing off at XML 2003
will be a part of that, since I also have a huge chasm between DocBook
and Word that needs bridging.

I've had a section called "The WYSIWYG Disaster" at the start of all
three editions of XML: A Primer.  If there were to be a fourth edition -
can't been given that I work for a competitor of my publisher - that
tale might have a somewhat happier ending.  The jury's still out, but
I'm a little more hopeful.

>Structured authoring is hard.


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


News | XML in Industry | Calendar | XML Registry
Marketplace | Resources | MyXML.org | Sponsors | Privacy Statement

Copyright 2001 XML.org. This site is hosted by OASIS