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RE: general question about frame and SGML

Re Eric Dunn's comments that there are no real advantages in going to
FM+SGML from FM unless you have specific requirements that demand SGML, I
agree with Eric on most issues, but I have to second Dan Emory's comments in
their entirety where the use of SGML is concerned. 

o  single sourcing (which does not necessarily involve an additional content
management application)

o  non proprietary format for long-lived documentation

o  use of attributes for metadata

To Dan's points I would add that FM+SGML enforces styles (or even allows
styles to be changed independently over the top of existing documents)
completely independently from the authoring process and thus ensures a
consistency of quality that is much more difficult to ensure where each
author can override the house styles.

Although we have never used FM without SGML in our shop, I understand that
some Defence areas had substantial difficulties with publishing staff
repeatedly insisting on overriding house styles to do their own thing in FM.
(The rogue staff couldn't even be fired because they were civil servants,
and the situation was so bad that the people concerned gave a presentation
on the issue at one of the national publishing conferences.) This caused
them substantial grief in their QA and production processes. FM+SGML
definitively ends such problems.

FM is definitely a better authoring tool for long tech docs than Word, but
it is still firmly set in the world of the format oriented paper paradigm.

FM+SGML moves into the radically different world of the structured authoring
knowledge capture paradigm, which frees authors to focus 100% on structure
and content without any worries/problems/lost time fussing with formats.
Author productivity and quality increases substantially - but at the cost of
having one or two people specialised to build the templates and SGML
applications. I think there is no question which is the better solution for
a large shop producing standardised documents. Small shops will need to do a
business case to see if the productivity savings on the author side
compensate for the need to build the SGML application.

ADOBE: When can we start talking about XML the same way we now talk about


Bill Hall
Documentation Systems Specialist
Data Quality
Quality Control and Commissioning
ANZAC Ship Project
Tenix Defence
Williamstown, Vic. 3016 AUSTRALIA
E-mail: bill.hall@tenix.com <mailto:bill.hall@tenix.com> 
URL: http://www.tenix.com/
Phone: 03 9244 4280
Note relocation effective 15 October 2001:
Strategy and Development Organisation
Tenix Defence
Level 3, Yarra Towe
World Trade Centre
Flinders Street
Melbourne Victoria 3005
Tel: +61 3 8662 7600 (switchboard)

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