Re: Improved writing -- who's going to pay for it?
Linda van den Brink wrote: > What I'm interested in knowing, is how sure are we that the w3c (schema and > other?) specs are not comprehensible enough, and that implementation > experience and rapid acceptance are being affected. Is it just a hunch we > have? A general feeling among people on this list? What's the w3c's view on > this? For me, it's largely a hunch. I'm smart enough to have waded through the XML 1.0 spec and written a DTD parser, but dumb enough to need to read most specs quite a few times before I begin to undestand them. I'm also in the target audience for the schema spec -- I'll (hopefully) be writing a processor in the next few months to generate database schemas from XML Schemas. So when I feel (as Miloslav Nic does) like a "10 year old child reading in general theory of relativity" and put the spec aside (yet again) due to frustration, I can only assume that others feel this way, too. Also telling is a comment I heard years ago about the ODBC spec. I was asking around for ways to improve it and a programmer told me that the only thing he wanted was a better index. He went on to say that they didn't even consider using the native API to the database they were using (this was in the very early days of ODBC, when it was still a risky proposition). They weren't concerned about speed, or reliability, or anything else. They made their choice based simply on the fact that they could understand the ODBC docs and they couldn't understand the docs for the native API. Now the ODBC spec is hardly a brilliant piece of writing. So while this does show that programmers are a pretty tolerant audience to write for (the worst being your mother), it also shows that even programmers have their limits. That is, that writing does affect acceptance. As to solving the problem, the first step is convincing the W3C and its member companies that it is a problem. If they're convinced of that, my guess is that the second step (getting companies to donate resources) probably won't be too hard. -- Ronald Bourret Programming, Writing, and Training XML, Databases, and Schemas http://www.rpbourret.com
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