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Re: what's missing in XML? What's coming?

  • From: cbullard@hiwaay.net
  • To: Andrew Welch <andrew.j.welch@gmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 04 Jan 2012 07:56:42 -0600

Re:  what's missing in XML? What's coming?
As far as I can tell from this seat, Andrew, S1000D hasn't taken hold  
in the US armed forces.   Some are even talking about turning away  
from anything beyond basic IETMs (page turners).  Rumors but  
surprising.   I thought after two decades when I came back to this  
part of the industry there would be considerable advancement over what  
we were doing pre-web in IETMs, and in fact, it seems to have rolled  
backwards.   As I said at the XML convention in Atlanta a few years  
ago, these are problems too hard too solve or too profitable too  
solve.   The not surprising part is the tools to make this work easier  
are easy to use, cheap to get and ubiquitous.   Deep XML knowledge is  

As XML became the creature of programmers and datatype experts, it  
moved away from the technical publishing world and became something  
assumed to be web-centric which in fact it is.   The overarching  
assumption was anything worth doing would be done on the web when in  
fact that isn't true.  That it can be done with web tech seems  
credible until one begins to look at security issues, the complexity  
of the DTDs and supporting XSD and the near ubiquity of MS Word with  
the focus on producing format that is thrown away at the last steps of  

I'm not saying there isn't plenty of work.  Deliverables are still  
XML/PDF but I am amazed at how little penetration there is of smart  
enterprise thinking in the production.  CALS failed miserably and with  
a very loud thud of billions of dollars into apparently the wrong  


Quoting Andrew Welch <andrew.j.welch@gmail.com>:

>> It may be inevitable that XML becomes not just markup on the web, but only
>> markup on the web, meaning it may be time for military technical publishing
>> to reconsider it's early adopter commitments to markup.  It takes years to
>> create and publish the guidance documents, the XSD is barely documented
>> despite being hundreds of pages long, making substantial post-validation
>> contributions and creating layouts, resolving references, etc. vital to
>> follow-on products (say, Class III and IV IETMs).
> What about s1000d?  That's been around for years... I worked on the
> IETM for Eurofighter as my first job after uni :)  After that it's
> been pretty much the same task just in different industries - medical,
> finance, publishing, government... it's all pretty much the same, just
> with different text nodes.
> --
> Andrew Welch
> http://andrewjwelch.com

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