XML Editors - Word 2000??

Ketil Z Malde ketil at ii.uib.no
Mon Jun 28 09:12:13 BST 1999

Warning!  Grumpy old fart rant follows!  Read at your own risk!

Paul Prescod <paul at prescod.net> writes:

> Steven Livingstone wrote:

>> Anyway, I am looking for an Editor as easy to use as Word, but allows you to
>> work with XML without modification !!

> Who isn't?

I am not.  I don't find Word easy to use at all, and I certainly
wouldn't want to edit XML with it.  I *might* - were I in a good mood, 
and I am not - be able to see the point of it storing documents
according to a fixed DTD with a separate style sheet reflecting the
formatting, but for general XML documents?  Rather not.

> It has been tweaked and honed to make editing with that DTD for many
> years. Now imagine you pop a document according to your vocabulary
> into an XML editor. It doesn't know what's a list item, it doesn't
> know what's a paragraph, etc. You'll need to do a bunch of work to
> teach it all of that stuff.

No it doesn't/you haven't.  It is quite sufficient for the editor to
know what it can derive from the DTD, i.e. what element goes where and 
when and how.  Extras include showing comments from the DTD (Adept
does this, doesn't it?) and formatting the tags and content nicely.

One might think that WYSIWYG is a good idea, and apply a style sheet
to hide the tags, but you're really working with the structure of the
information, and not its presentation, and hiding what you work with
is IMHO *not* a good idea.  Would you, driving a car, cover the
windshield, because traffic is too complex?  Thought not.

If you want WYSIWYG - i.e. using your computer as a "paper simulator"
to borrow Ted Nelson's words - you already have that with Word et al.
XML is more useful if it's viewed as something deeper.

But, yes, I have no illusions about people bothering to understand
this.  I fully expect them to take the time - a lot of it - to fire up
Word and edit XML using <address>-elements to get italics.  Sigh.


> List coordinator, Henry Rzepa (mailto:rzepa at ic.ac.uk)
Henry, will I still get bounces of this mail?
If I haven't seen further, it is by standing in the footprints of giants

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