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[Gnu-arch-users] Re: documentation as info

From: Miles Bader
Subject: [Gnu-arch-users] Re: documentation as info
Date: 17 Sep 2003 10:44:10 +0900

Tupshin Harper <address@hidden> writes:
> If you don't think that markup languages are bad, but you do think that 
> XML and SGML are bad (or butt-ugly), then I'm curious in what way (as 
> just a markup language) you think that XML and SGML are bad incarnations 
> of the concept of "structured markup language".

I have no particular objection to xml/sgml as file-formats for
documents (I suppose there are probably objections to them in that role
too, but nothing that I've thought about).

My problem with xml/sgml is as a human-edited source language, i.e.,
what the tla docs are.

If you read the source for a DocBook document, and then read the source
for a document in Tom's doc language, the latter is like a breath of
fresh air -- you can actually _read_ it, the tagging doesn't get in the
way.  For documents that are mean to be edited without special structure
editors, this is _important_.

I realize that a DocBook document probably has many more tag types, and
more functionality, and that Tom's language might become less readable
if enhanced to the point where they were equivalent.  None-the-less,
looking at DocBook input, it appears as if the designers simply didn't
care about this issue, and it shows -- even HTML, horrid though it is,
tries a little bit to make the markup a  bit more digestible, e.g., by
using very short tags for common inline annotations (e.g., <i>).

As for sgml-derivatives in general, it obviously depends on the
particular variant/DTD used -- you can make things a bit better by
making end-tags omittable (or I guess XML's <tag/> syntax), and thinking
a bit harder about how a human might use it -- but it seems to be a
common property of the DTDs I've seen that they're way too verbose, and
clearly not _really_ intended for humans to edit on a regular basis.

And, yeah, I really do hate <para> / <p> tags.  Christ, would a _little_
lexical sugar really have hurt all that much...?

Freedom's just another word, for nothing left to lose   --Janis Joplin

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