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Re: Is "Hand Authoring" XML still a critical use case ?

  • From: B Tommie Usdin <btusdin@mulberrytech.com>
  • To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
  • Date: Thu, 9 Dec 2010 15:16:47 -0500

Re:  Is "Hand Authoring" XML still a critical use case ?
At 12:23 PM -0500 12/9/10, David Lee wrote:
>Is Hand Authored XML really an important issue nowadays ?

Depends on what you mean by "really important". Much of this 
discussion seems to be based on the premise that if "I", or "the 
people I know and care about" don't need something then nobody who 
matters needs it (or worse, nobody needs it). And, in some cases, the 
discussion seems to have gone all the way to "I don't need it so it 
is clutter so you shouldn't have it".

Are there people who hand author XML? Yes. And more often there are 
people who fix XML by hand. Are all of these people XML Geeks? No! 
Many of them are content experts, and some of them are 
clerical/support staff with no programming skills at all.

I work in a world in which XML users find entities and mixed content 
essential, make effective use of DTDs, and find clarity more 
important than terseness. In this world document models and document 
processing infrastructure are stable for years while content changes 
constantly, so it is important to optimize for content creation and 
use, not for modeling and support programming. (Making life easier 
for XSLT programmers is insignificant compared to making it easier 
for document authors, for example.)

Yet in many ways these users have the same problems with XML than 
many of you have been discussing: namespaces are mysterious, encoding 
errors can be difficult to detect and can do significant harm, and 
acceptance of XML would be far more widespread if it were simpler.

Is "hand authoring" a critical use case? Yes, unless you declare that 
XML no longer needs to support its original users.

-- Tommie

B. Tommie Usdin                        mailto:btusdin@mulberrytech.com
Mulberry Technologies, Inc.                http://www.mulberrytech.com
17 West Jefferson Street                           Phone: 301/315-9631
Suite 207                                    Direct Line: 301/315-9634
Rockville, MD  20850                                 Fax: 301/315-8285
   Mulberry Technologies: A Consultancy Specializing in XML and SGML

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