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

It really depends upon what you mean by hand authoring.

I use Oxygen heavily and XML Spy slightly less heavily, and am very dependent upon both tools to help me be productive as an XML developer and data architect. These are a far cry from writing XML in notepad, even if we are still working with angle brackets typed into a text window, so I'd argue that the generalized XML tools are actually quite good.

What differentiates an MSWord 2007 OOXML document from any other XML is that the one is a collection of clearly articulated (if a tad verbose) XML schema instance usages, while the other involves working with the XML in a purely non-semantic way. You can certainly make a decent ODF or OOXML document without even having to look at a line of XML - the XML is there, but unless you're either good or geeky (or both) the benefits of editing that content in a WYSIWY(M)G editor far outweighs the high degree of precision and detailed knowledge to edit the documents by hand. On the other hand, if you're working with something like NIEM or XBRL, chances are you'd be far better off working in a forms context - either with XForms or something similar - than you would necessarily editing this content directly as XML. Again, however, while you're editing an instance of XML vocabulary in either of the latter two cases, this is different from editing that XML as XML.

Also note that there are people who actually do work with ODF or OOXML at the XML level, primarily because they are using these platforms as report generators. They make up a vanishingly small proportion of the overall word users, though they also have a very disproportionate effect because they are able to make the core technologies sit up and beg in ways across potentially millions of documents. 

Kurt Cagle
XML Architect
Lockheed / US National Archives ERA Project

On Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 7:55 PM, Bjoern Hoehrmann <derhoermi@gmx.net> wrote:
* Michael Sokolov wrote:
>I think a lot of the things we've been talking about are painful for
>content producers as well as consumers: often our pain gets reflected
>back up the chain anyway.  I bet editors just love it when we tell them
>- well we can't do anything with that document you just sent us - it
>isn't even XML! Just because there's an extra blank line at the
>beginning of the document

This is a design flaw in the core specification; the automaton that
reads the encoding declaration (or finds that there is none) for all
encodings you could reasonably use with XML is very simple and very
efficient, yet instead of specifying it, we have a requirement that
makes common things very annoying, for instance you cannot copy

 <?xml version='1.0'?>

into a text file and run it through your XML tools, you have to re-
move the leading white space first; and a couple of non-normative
suggestions in the specification how one might, or not, go about
deciding what character encoding a document is using. Among all the
suggestions how to change XML, this is so far the only problem I'd
really like to see fixed.
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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