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Re: [xml-dev] Text Markup Part II

I think a lot of it comes down to a faster-moving technology cycle,
but also a less stable technology work environment. More companies
want to incorporate new technologies faster, and many companies want
be able to switch vendors easily and get new engineers up to speed

Let me back up one step. I think intuitively we divide documents into
chunks and sections and pieces and learn to identify where important
parts are. In addition, in most big companies, even free text ends up
being according to a standard which writes out how things should be
laid out so that these pieces are in one place and those pieces are in

However, the intuitive understanding of free text, or even
understanding free text according to a company writing standard, is
usually tribal knowledge. Moreover, it is hard to move between
computer systems. This doesn't matter when you have a very stable work
environment where people have been working together for years and
vendors have figured out how to process free text and integrate it
into their systems.

But the working environment for engineers is not as stable as it used
to be, partly because technology moves faster nowadays, but also
because tech companies are not as stable as they used to be. This has
meant lots of training of new engineers, or even worse when new
project managers or new vendors come in, retraining of the old staff.

Markup doesn't solve these problems, but it makes them easier by
allowing machine translation of information, easier standardization of
document structure, and organized rules to replace the intuitive
understanding of where important information is.

Plus there's fashion, once a technology trend gets started it takes on
a life of its own, irrespective of your needs.

John Thomas

On Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 7:14 AM, Michael Hopwood <michael@editeur.org> wrote:
>>>> What I'm trying to get at is the fundamental rational between  what appears to be two extremes not necessarily compatible, and why we ended up with only the later.
> Actually, and for a very long time before it became "cool" ;) to talk about this, it's really only been the latter, except that the "markup" for the rest of the document is implicit. Adding a "root" tag for the whole document simply formalises and makes machine-readable (although you could have done this a variety of other ways, like filename extensions) what "documentalists" of all kinds have been doing for a very long time; (more or less formally) identifying integral units of documentation.
> A MARC21 serialisation has message headers to separate different catalogue records in the stream - those are short documents, generally, although they can potentially get very long. And every element, as well as the whole thing, is marked up.
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