XML Editors - Word 2000??

Ketil Z Malde ketil at ii.uib.no
Wed Jun 30 09:08:49 BST 1999

Paul Prescod <paul at prescod.net> writes:

>> I maintain it is much better than pretending the structure doesn't
>> exist by covering it under formatting issues.

> No one advocates pretending that structure doesn't exist.

Hopefully not here.  I have seen the way people write HTML, though.
The "it works for me" mentality is pretty hard to get rid of.

> Exactly. That's why you need a tool that only allows it to "look right on
> the screen" if it *is* right. 

Umm, yes.  It also requires that the DTD is strictly designed,
cf. HTML. 

> That's why an XML editing environment requires massive
> customization.

Perhaps the reason I don't miss a more GUIed environment is the
overhead.  I like to be able to quickly throw together a DTD and type
up documents, script to them in e.g. Python and SAX, and in general
get onwards.  Massive customization with style sheets is affordable, I
suppose, if you're putting together a project in the "Billion Dollar"

> People want an interface that *is as easy to use* as MSWord.

Well, I don't really find Word all that easy to use, but that's a side 
point.  IME, people ask for Word to be protected from seeing
too much structure.  Which is what I think is a mistake.

> I think that you and Marcus are in violent agreement.

Well, yes, I started to get that impression too, but who am I to let
that stop me?

	*	*	*

Turning to Marcus, who said in a previous posting that:

>>> People who are drafting XML documents such as legislation are not
>>> working with the structure,

And I replied:

>> I maintain it is much better than pretending the structure doesn't
>> exist by covering it under formatting issues.

And now you say:

> The user doesn't pretend that it doesn't exist - they still select elements and
> assign attribute values. 

So they *do* work with the structure, after all.  Explicitly.

> I'm getting the slightly uneasy feeling that you may not have spent
> as much time looking at these applications as I thought you had. You
> do realise that these documents accept a DTD (albeit compiled to an
> internal format) and that the users are conscious that they're
> creating structured documents, don't you?

Umm...we're not discussing MS Word any more, are we?  I've not worked
extensively with commercial SGML editors, and mostly Adept which seems 
to fit your description pretty well.  It's been a while, though.

I have no quarrel with the way Adept works, IIRC, it displays elements
with little colored boxes labeled "tag" instead of "<tag>"s embedded
in the text, which is probably important to somebody.  You get to
browse the structure, and apply style sheets, which is nice.

If I haven't seen further, it is by standing in the footprints of giants

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