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If It Works, It's Golden

"If it's working, it's golden." - Tom Passin

Precisely. And if there are working examples, platinum. What we are seeing in industry is a dearth of well-trained technical writers who are past building their hiking club's web page, or using templates and actually can read and apply a specification using the tools at hand. Instead we get wine connoisseurs who know excel and word, who have been shown DITA at a seminar but who have never opened 40051 or S1000D and proudly tell us in meetings no writer should ever have to know about nodes, validation, why well-formedness is important or the difference between XML syntax and XSD.

And then an HR problem becomes a technical problem. I read an O'Reilly article about the release of the Affordable Care Act system in the US that was on point in one respect: policy people are not technical and if the problem at hand is technical, you can't let them run the meetings. On the other hand technologists tend to be fad-oriented, insular and only capable of working problems that compute so when it comes time to budget for tools they do not understand that yet another six month license at exorbitant costs for support for a tool that adds nothing but flavor is a bad choice when the tools at hand are still doing the job. Sounds Good Maybe Later (SGML).

Next week, marshaling; this week, transforms. Because the main thing, in fact the only thing, is delivery of quality product in accordance with the contractually obligated specifications. Everything else is bullshit and while bullshit may have a place in the front office, here where bytes must change state before anything happens, as Dr. Goldfarb said, we need less of that.

Now back to this XSLT I'm debugging because for some tasks, it is golden.


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