In our newsletter, we give lots of tips for working with structured content. In this article, we take a step back to the beginning. If you are working with content in word processing or spreadsheet programs, you may be wondering what all the XML fuss is about? Why should you convert your content to XML? What does XML do for you that you can’t do now? The following tips should give you a general idea of what XML is all about:
One of the hardest things to do is to get people to move from their comfort zones. When you begin to implement your content management strategy and move to structured authoring, you will likely see some resistance from a few writers who will say, “That’s not the way we’ve always done it!“ Ah, change! It can bring out the stubbornness in some people and make their boss’ hair turn gray as he drags them, kicking and screaming, into the new work environment.
When your content is structured in a standard like XML, it becomes portable to many different technologies. It can be understood and shared by different databases and most editing, translation, and publishing tools. Using one source of intelligent content that is managed in a content management system, content can be easily transferred and processed by all types of tools. You will eliminate lots of duplicate content in many different file formats and consolidate your content base.
Making the decision to implement a component content management strategy for your technical documentation can result in big savings and flexibility in the editorial, translation, and publishing cycles for an organization. It also means that you must convert your content to a structured format – XML – to make it all happen successfully.
Now you face a huge amount of content in various formats – Word files, desktop publishing files, help files, website files – and you wonder where to …
We live in a world that is marked by differences — and that’s probably a good thing. After all, what would it be like if everything was exactly the same? Imagine if everyone wore the same clothes, had blues eyes, and was bald. It would be hard to tell anyone apart. If someone knocked on your door, is it a policeman or a plumber? Who knows…they all look the same. Imagine the chaos that could bring (not to mention how boring it would be!)
Unstructured content lives in this world, where nothing has an identity and content is in a state of chaos. How do you find it? And how …