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Subject: Re: [chairs] Michael Priestly and an unspoken assumption

Hi Patrick,

The user does not need to see the descriptive markup. Depending on the user type, this could be a good idea or a bad idea (I'm a power user, I want to see the markup; but someone who is providing input to a process without wanting to understand it's every detail probably doesn't want to see the markup).

So I don't think this is the assumption that is separating us, since we both agree there are at least times when the descriptive markup should not be seen by the user.

I'm not sure how "the reports we have seen about DITA on this list" support this answer though. JoAnn Hackos noted that you can author DITA using Word with a plugin, and I noted that you can author it in a web browser without seeing the markup, so the difference between DITA and ODF is not about whether the markup is shown. A "WYSIWYG" DITA editor does not expose the markup to the users, but it does enforce the rules associated with that markup (like <title> being the first thing in a document).

Mary's example showing the difference between underlying ODF and DocBook markup reinforced the point for me. The user may feel like they're creating something similar when they author the content, but one creates content that is easy for machines to process, and predictable enough to heuristically validate. This is not meant to be a knock against ODF; just a reiteration of the fact that ODF and OOXML are not the same kind of XML animal as DITA or DocBook.

Michael Priestley, Senior Technical Staff Member (STSM)
Lead IBM DITA Architect

From: Patrick Durusau <patrick@durusau.net>
To: "chairs@lists.oasis-open.org" <chairs@lists.oasis-open.org>
Date: 04/22/2010 06:52 PM
Subject: [chairs] Michael Priestly and an unspoken assumption


It occurred to me while eating supper that perhaps Michael Priestly and
I are disagreeing over an unspoken assumption. Perhaps not but here goes...

Must a user who is using *descriptive* markup, see the *descriptive* markup?

My answer would be no. And as evidence I would cite the experience with
ODF, the reports we have seen about DITA on this list and other examples
of interfaces that don't display descriptive markup to users and yet the
users are clearly using (in my sense of the term) *descriptive* markup.

Question: Is that an unspoken assumption that is dividing us?

Just curious. It isn't something that occurred to me to ask earlier.

Hope everyone is having a great day!


Patrick Durusau
Chair, V1 - US TAG to JTC 1/SC 34
Convener, JTC 1/SC 34/WG 3 (Topic Maps)
Editor, OpenDocument Format TC (OASIS), Project Editor ISO/IEC 26300
Co-Editor, ISO/IEC 13250-1, 13250-5 (Topic Maps)

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