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SGML tools aren't so great
I'm really pleased to have started such a vigorous
discussion. Let me deal with various answers in this e-mail
First, I hear your concerns about using HTML in e-mail, so I
>first of all, I'm sorry because I've started this sort of
SGML editors that is falled down to a SGML validity in
of our poor society
Gabriele, there's no need to apologize for exposing a
weakness. And there is no doubt that the LDP, although there
are good and sufficient reasons for using SGML internally,
is sadly lacking in GUI SGML tools. More on that later.
Suffice it to say that if you want new authors, you can't
expect them to share your admiration of SGML, especially if
they aren't getting paid. I've dealt with commercial
publishers, and they usually want you to use Word with a
macro package of their devising. However, the impetus for
doing so is you get paid.
Kevin Turner is the only one who correctly perceived that I
was objecting to having to learn SGML just to write a doc.
He understood the two points that if you place barriers in
the way, you only get volunteers of a particular sort, and
that the concerns of some posters about the capabilities of
SGML vis-a-vis other formats are best addressed internally.
Stein Gjoen and Jorge Godoy inadvertently showed that even
you guys need better tools. Stein was unaware of an existing
SGML tag and Jorge clued him to the existence of it. If
Stein had had a good GUI SGML editor, it would have
presented him with a choice, and he wouldn't have to ask the
question he did. On the same subject, if LDP wants certain
usages and style, the best way to get it consistently is to
provide tools that make those usages and style natural. Not
Puritanical exhortations to follow the rules. Hair shirts
went out of style in the middle ages.
If you can't conceive of a way of either accepting input in
other formats, or providing SGML tools that don't require
three Hail Marys and rigorous adherence to an easily
violated instruction book, then SGML isn't so great. Mostly
because the tools don't exist to make the use of it's
wondrous capabilities easy. If you can't build the tools or
even conceive of them, you're in the wrong business. What
people can do by rule, so can computers. If you have
difficulty translating your rules, then they're ambiguous.
Try using your computers for grunt work. That's what they're
for. Human beings are for doing things computers can't -
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