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RE: Should XML Professionals Be Programmers?

  • From: "Len Bullard" <Len.Bullard@ses-i.com>
  • To: "Greg Hunt" <greg@firmansyah.com>
  • Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2012 13:32:04 -0600

RE:  Should XML Professionals Be Programmers?

That may be the case, Greg.   The challenge is expectations.  I agree none of this is hard.   Have you ever been chewed out for solving a problem in XML production through programming?  Sounds unreal, yes?


As to the skills required, a common complaint is “that’s too tedious”.  Another was “that’s too old fashioned” making reference to inspecting the file.   We have raised a generation that cannot fathom a box that can be opened and inspected (I think of them as Mac People but that’s my prejudice) and all too often, they are being managed by a generation that considered programming tasks beyond them.   XML sits in a not too hot not too cold zone where it is believed costs can be cut by hiring less than competent and then enforcing the notion that all you need to do is tag across levels of upper management which sanction actions.


Companies like that eventually kill a customer in our business.  You get what you pay for. 




From: Greg Hunt [mailto:greg@firmansyah.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 08, 2012 1:22 PM
To: Len Bullard
Cc: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
Subject: Re: Should XML Professionals Be Programmers?


It sounds like your recruitment process is picking people based on substrings of their resume, resulting in your "guru".  None of these technologies are extremely hard and my preference is always to look for people based on personality (curiosity, openness, technical orientation) and then work out what taxonomic box to put them in later.   

On Fri, Mar 9, 2012 at 5:39 AM, Len Bullard <Len.Bullard@ses-i.com> wrote:

I agree, John.  And a very productive one.

They may not need to program in other languages but it is helpful.  If
someone can't read a DTD to some level of proficiency, I have some
qualms about their skill set given an environment where tagging in a
DTD-enabled editor is not enough to solve problems.  Sometimes the task
is proving where a problem originates; otherwise, one is solving the
wrong problem.  The same is true of the XSL.

An "XML guru" came to me one day and pointed out that half of a document
was missing.   I asked if he had inspected the file.  He asked me why he
should do that, it was missing.  What was missing was a right quotation
mark.  The XML editor told him the file wasn't XML.  An "XML guru" that
doesn't know what that means can't go to the next task because they
simply don't know what that error means.  A competent XML skilled
individual knows that in most cases, Draco has struck and they start
looking for a syntax error.

On the other hand, if one finds a fully-qualified pathname in an ENTITY
attribute, one might look elsewhere.   If one is given a document full
of empty ENTITY attributes, one might look elsewhere.


-----Original Message-----
From: John Cowan [mailto:cowan@ccil.org] On Behalf Of John Cowan
Sent: Thursday, March 08, 2012 10:58 AM
To: Michael Kay
Cc: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
Subject: Re: Should XML Professionals Be Programmers?

Note to Len:  Writing and debugging XSLT *is* programming.  Anyone who
can learn to program in XSLT can learn to program in any other language.


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