RE: [ Revision #2 ] 15 elementary truths about XML
Len said: "And the failure of American universities to grasp the importance of adequate XML training for technical writers is sustained and abysmal. They turn out editors who can memorize Word style sheets but they fail when it comes to providing enough knowledge to bridge the gap between writers and elementary computer science concepts. Roger fills the gap. Ken fills the gap. And that is a good thing." This is true; hence the presentation I originally gave back at XML 2001 on XML and Technical Writing, based on experience in the XML adoption at the company I work for (SGML originally in 1993). Most of our editors and authors came from a desktop publishing background. Separating content from style was a brand new mindset that was difficult to foster. I count myself in that group at the outset (I started as an editor and morphed into a content analyst/programmer over time). It wasn't until I was assigned to a project repurposing our data that the "creative tagging" issues and lack of understanding became apparent. Trial by fire, as it were, but a valuable learning experience. It even came up later when I was teaching a night class in technical writing at SIUE. One of my students had been briefly exposed to XML in an authoring environment and was questioning its value. It led to a lively and productive discussion. We went totally off-track for that evening's writing topic, but it was worthwhile nonetheless. :)
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