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Word processors and semantic content

Dear List,

I enjoyed reading Elliotte's Future of XML article [1]. He made some
interesting comments and sharp observations.

But I disagree with one of the key statements in the article. 
I'd like to share my thoughts with the list and learn what you think.

At one point Elliotte says:

 "Traditionally, you see two hard problems in training non-techies to
write for the Web: teaching them semantic markup and showing them how to
use FTP."


 "XML-enabled word processors like OpenOffice and Microsoft Word solve
the first problem."

I don't think the first problem is solved. Word processors aren't going
to magically create semantic markup now that they can dump their
internal models to XML files.

To me the semantic authoring problem is the problem of having non
technical people creating semantic (and structured) content that meets
the requirements set by the use of that content.

If you're creating a plain weblog, a word processor may offer sufficient
semantics. But if you have requirements that impose a structure that is
more complex than HTML with custom tags, for instance nested sections,
or a required element order, the flexibility (which is perceived as
usability) of a word processor does more harm than good IMHO.

What are your thoughts on this?

Disclaimer: As an XML editor vendor, I'm biased, especially since our
core business is structured editing for non-techies.

[1] http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/library/x-xml2008prevw.html

Laurens van den Oever
Xopus Company

laurens at xopus.com

+31 70 4452345
Waldorpstraat 17G
2521 CA Den Haag
The Netherlands

KvK 27308787

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