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RE: [xml-dev] Who Is Teaching XML To Technical Writers?

A good question also.  No, it doesn’t always work like that.   Keep in mind that XML and SGML split in optional and required features and this made a difference to applications that had to bridge that chasm as well as organizations.

It will definitely check for well-formedness (Draconian errors). XML requires it.   Validity handling can vary because DTDs are optional in XML; so, when this is done can vary.   It possibly also varies by property settings of the editor itself but someone else would have to confirm that.   Items such as id/idref checking can be reported when the user asks for them even if the parser caught them on-load.  This can be helpful when editing document components such as work packages.   IDs are not auto-generated because local standards vary as to what constitutes an ID (for example, using a letter for the package type (M for maintenance) and then appending the WP number and TM series).  This is the sort of thing regular expression/microparsing can check but no the XML DTD-based validity checking.

Other things are ecosystem-dependent.  For example, is the FOSI putting spaces after list items and in which contexts?  Or is the tagger entering editor specific processing instructions? These come under the ‘secret decoder ring” knowledge category.  FOSI post validity check contributions are a pure bitch.

So, some of this comes down to the features of generalized markup v.s. specific local applications and tools.  For example, does your editor of choice make use of the FPI for getting the DTD or does it use the name in the quotes following?  Little items like that will confound.  Catalogs can confound.  Training for specific editors may have walked out the door with the last architect and the tagger left to do the job doesn’t actually know the details of XML well enough to know what kinds of mistakes they are making, and the technical writers don’t care.

I read recently where TimBL said the web isn’t about documents.  NOW he tells us.



From: Nico van de Water [mailto:nicovdwater@gmx.de]
Sent: Friday, August 10, 2012 2:23 PM
To: Len Bullard
Subject: Re: [xml-dev] Who Is Teaching XML To Technical Writers?


Hi Len, dear list members,

My most pressing question in this case would be then: doesn't the XML editor itself check for well-formedness and validity? So far (since roughly 1998) I have always used XML Spy, and what I liked from the beginning is that this program immediately flags any errors in the XML one opens. I have always thought that this was a more or less default functionality in XML editors. Or I am wrong here?

With thanks and best regards,

Op 2012-08-10 20:12, Len Bullard schreef:

537254D815AAA64492F9FA9A38ECB40DE83BEC@mail4.huntsville.ses-i.com" type=cite>
Good question, Mike.  I'm not sure it is manual although that is how I
found it.  I'm editing in Notepad++; faster and I can see the error
patterns; and parse checking on load and after changes.  It's old school
but it has advantages and one is to find stuff like this.
Probably the editor isn't checking for this on-entry. Arbor Text allows
it and then it's caught if they use id checking (DUPLICATE).  However, I
suspect the training is lacking in lots and lots of logistics
departments.  This is the "tagging" culture and it is actively harmful.

[end of snip]



1.    Please note my new address: Groesbeeksedwarsweg 301, 6521 DK Nijmegen, Netherlands. My postal address remains the same: Postbus 1367, 6501 BJ Nijmegen, Netherlands.







Nico van de Water Linguistic Services

For language matters...


Linguistic consultancy, technical and medical/scientific translations, software and web site localization, technical authoring, and terminology management


(Mr.) Nico van de Water

Postbus 1367

6501 BJ  Nijmegen


VAT ID: NL076023308B02

Registered at Nijmegen Chamber of Commerce, dossier no. 511 63 217


[t]            +31-6-300 444 52 (mobile)

[m]          nicovdwater@gmx.de

[w]          under development


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