XML Editors - Word 2000??

Rick Jelliffe ricko at allette.com.au
Wed Jun 30 10:10:02 BST 1999

On the subject of XML editors:
* FrameMaker+SGML is excellent, but a big job to set up for complete
structured editing.
* EditTime is a very fast editor that is pretty simple to set up, aimed
at programmers.
* I have not tried Epic, but Adept editor has nice data entry.

>Paul Prescod <paul at prescod.net> writes:

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

Not to be contrarian, but I would love an XML editor that hid structure
from me.

Just like a coloured map, it would be great if all inline elements were
with a font or style, and that I could use the style menus to drill down
to the allowed
generic elements in context.

For some people, I think visual operation is stronger than conceptual
for markup languages it means that even though I may start editing a
using thoughts about the structure, when I become familiar with the
editor I may
be better switching over to using visual cues (and to using keyboard
My final goal  may be "insert a particular element", but my proximate
shortcuts itself to "insert something that looks the same as other
instances of
that element".

Anyone who has used FrameMaker+SGML or some of the other structure-based
editors knows that when a content model has many choice items, scrolling
are tedious. Furthermore, it is difficult to keep track of many choices

So I think a good user interface for an editor would also allow specify
by reverse tracing through the stylesheet: you know you want to insert
an element
that is rendered italic & bold by the current stylesheet, so you select
and it would present you a choice of any element types in the current
whose stylesheet matches that description.

I wonder if this would involve less mental effort on entry-operators
when there are content models with many choices: it reduces the number
names they have to recognise in order to make the desired choice,
to a single choice. Presumably the same HCI rule (maximum of seven
choices at any level) that operates on names would also operated on
styles, so there would also be a maximum of 7 style qualities at any
level that
the operator would have to look through.

On a similar vein, one good thing that having named content models in
XML Schemas is that they can allow hierarchical menus for selecting

Rick Jelliffe

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