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Re: [xml-dev] Is "Hand Authoring" XML still a critical use case ?

I think the ability to hand author XML efficiently is still a good
quality to seek. Even if people start off with a higher level tool
they often get down to the raw XML syntax once they're more familiar
with the XML schema they're authoring.

Part of the problem with writing current XML at the 'angle brackets'
level, is that most of the editing tools are effectively general
purpose text editors with syntax coloring and a bit of
intellisense/auto-completion thrown in.

They reveal their text-editor roots in how they manage indentation
using padding characters. As soon as you try to copy and paste a few
elements around, all indentation goes to pot and you're left hunting
for the 'pretty print' button again. Should you switch to another
editor, you'll probably find said indentation needs adjusting again.
This would be just about tolerable, were it not for the fact that XML
often hosts other languages and formats that require their own
indentation to be comprehensible, compounding the issue. I guess this
issue isn't so significant to others because my previous post to this
list on the subject [Why many XML Editors don't preserve whitespace
nodes] got no replies.

There must be a 'sweet-spot' where the editing tool provide the
low-level access to syntax (i.e. not a tree-view editor), but without
the repetitive chores of tidying up XML all the time. I'm not
convinced any single tool yet presents XML for low-level editing in an
optimal way, so, in addition to the hunt for an simpler XML, I'd still
like to see more investment in tools for the current XML standard,
which would make lift a lot simpler for XML authors.

One of the interesting problems in writing a 'padding free' XML editor
to work with existing files would be identifying and stripping those
padding characters previously inserted by existing XML serialisers or

Phil Fearon

On Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 7:15 PM, David Lee <dlee@calldei.com> wrote:
> I argue the readability and writability are *totally different*.
> I read XML ALL DAY and for me its #1 appeal s a format is that its humanly
> readable.
> that’s not at all the same as 'easily written'.
> However I rarely write directly in it, except for very tiny bits.
> ( e.g. preparing my Docbook-like papers for submission to Balisage is a real
> challenge for me, and I'm an xml-geek) .
> I'm not actually proposing that XML should not consider hand editing.
> I'm suggesting that many of the discussions this week have been around the
> concept of "whats easier to write",
> and I'm throughing a strawman out that maybe that’s not the most important
> criteria,.
> ----------------------------------------
> David A. Lee
> dlee@calldei.com
> http://www.xmlsh.org
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bjoern Hoehrmann [mailto:derhoermi@gmx.net]
> Sent: Thursday, December 09, 2010 2:12 PM
> To: David Lee
> Cc: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
> Subject: Re: [xml-dev] Is "Hand Authoring" XML still a critical use case ?
> * David Lee wrote:
>>Is Hand Authored XML really an important issue nowadays ?
> That's a silly question, as close human contact with the source code
> varies with applications. Close encounters with XHTML are more common
> than close encounters with Atom or XMPP, for instance. I myself use
> XML as quick and dirty serialization format for debugging purposes;
> that's not authoring by hand, but I have to read it without any tool
> assistance and the requirements are similar.
> --
> Björn Höhrmann · mailto:bjoern@hoehrmann.de · http://bjoern.hoehrmann.de
> Am Badedeich 7 · Telefon: +49(0)160/4415681 · http://www.bjoernsworld.de
> 25899 Dagebüll · PGP Pub. KeyID: 0xA4357E78 · http://www.websitedev.de/
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