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   Re: [xml-dev] XML-appropriate editing data structures

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Elliotte Rusty Harold wrote:
 > At 9:08 PM -0500 4/7/04, Bob Foster wrote:
 >> However, the expectations of a modern XML editor are set by the
 >> features of modern programming language editors:
 > As someone who wrote a 1200 page book, completely in XML in the very
 > high-performing jEdit, and another 300 page book in the XML editor known
 > as OpenOffice, I have to question a lot of your assumptions about what
 > features a modern XML editor should have. For instance, I find outline
 > view completely useless. It seems to get into editors only because
 > modern GUI toolkits make it trivial to implement (at least until
 > documents stop being small), not because users actually want to edit
 > their documents as outlines.
 > I think an editor that began by asking how users actually want to edit
 > XML data would avoid a lot of the performance problems you've
 > encountered, simply by not implementing unnecessary features. I see no
 > reason that the feature set of an XML editor should be a copy of the
 > feature set of a modern programming language editor. I want very
 > different things when I'm editing XML than when I'm writing code. They
 > are not the same task. They are not even close.

If you don't open the outline view, you don't pay for it. OTOH, users 
rather consistently ask for enhancements to the outline view, suggesting 
to me that they do use it and would like to use it even more.

It seems quite likely that the utility of the outline view has something 
to do with the nature of the document. If you write very large 
DocBook-like documents, the outline view is pretty much useless; all it 
shows is a long list of <para> (equivalent) tags. If you write Ant 
scripts, the outline view can be a very handy summary of the tasks in 
the script and a significant aid to navigation.

Bob Foster


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