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Well I know my very first SGML project was the creation of the first version
of the Canadian CALS DTD.
I was coming out of a quarter century of IT work and just starting on a new
career with SGML?in Microstar. I knew systems analysis, design and data
modelling... but did not know SGML DTD syntax very well. The people I was
working with knew a little SGML and the customer knew none.
N&FD allowed you to create a DTD using drag and drop techniques.. and
concentrate entirely on the business task of creating a data model [as
opposed to the technical task of expressing that model formally in some
syntax]. A rectangle was an element, a tilde on the rectangle represented
attributes, connectors showed and/or logic, occurrance symbols could occur
on elements or connectors. Tree could be expanded or contracted. Large
number of reports (including some standard CALS DTD reports) could be
generated automatically if you used the tools to capture the "documentation"
as well. The actual DTD syntax could be genereated with a button push (save
as DTD). Parsing was done with James Clarks SP inside. The N&FD designer
tool was originally meant to be one of a suite of tools to support Computer
Aided Document Engineering (CADE).. an engineering process to deal with the
entire process of delivering information.
The main claim to fame was the ability to "display" and explore the tree
structure without having to know a speck of SGML syntax. As B Harvey
said... absolutely invaluable for presentations and DTD walkthroughs. A
subject matter expert could be shown the basics of the Data Model in a few
minutes be talking and contributing to the design process.
Latest versions supported XML with wizards to go XML <-> SGML.
Announced but unreleased versions supported schemas.
After I left Microstar (by then Open Text) I provided support services for
N&FD until they withdrew the product.
I could produce any screen shot you want. Any particular DTD in mind????
Now I have to admit that for very large complex, and especially very modular
DTDs, N&FD ran into problems... the main one being that it would create one
big DTD from all the pieces... you could not modify such a modular DTD..
although you could at least display it.
CyberSpace Industries 2000 Inc.
XML Consulting & Training
Visit Historic Perth Ontario: http://www.all-about-perth.com
[I attach a 129K JPG showing a screen shot of xhtml transitional 1.0. I
have opened it up one level and expanded a few things in the head. I am
pointing at the root element and looking at the attributes on the html
element... in particular I am editing the id attribute... which you see is
of type id. The leaf symbols shown are PCDATA and EMPTY. A bar on right
side of an element or parameter entity means that element/PE is already
expanded somewhere else on the screen.]
From: Bob Foster [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, August 04, 2003 2:46 PM
To: Betty Harvey; Roger L. Costello
Subject: Re: [xml-dev] A parentless element that is not the document
node - how?
From: "Betty Harvey" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> I really wish that tools like XML Spy and
> Extensibility would provide the same functionality as Near and Far for XML
> Schema's. Although I don't create DTDs in a graphical tool - Near and Far
> is the greatest QA and presentation tool for a DTD.
Near and Far seems to have been a casualty of the Microstar acquisition.
What was great about it? Does even a screen shot survive?
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