[Doc-SIG] XML Conversion Update

Paul Prescod paul@prescod.net
Sun, 29 Aug 1999 12:17:59 -0400

If I honestly believed that most of us were going to end up using XML
editors, I would support using regular XML as a no-brainer. But I think
that the average Python hacker is no more likely to download a specific,
customized XML editor than they are to download and use IDLE in
preference to their favorite text editor.

I wrote my last book in vi(1) (admittedly an extreme choice) and the one
before in Emacs (a little more reasonable). I expect this to be the norm
but neither of us has a crystal ball.

And if we DO use XML editors then we run into the "diff/CVS" problem.
This is a MAJOR problem for an open source effort. Maybe we can
find/create an XML-smart diff and integrate it with CVS. In thiscase I
would't be so concerned...I would just unnormalize data I checked out
and re-normalize it when I checked in.

> I understand your points here but I still think we should go with
> plain vanilla XML as the storage notation. Even if we went with
> SGML, most SGML tools put inferred tags into your documents for
> you whether you like it or not!

That's why I don't use them.

> The only SGML editor I know that allows you to work on a hands-off basis
> is emacs! Fully blown SGML editors like Adept, Author/Editor,
> Frame etc. all canonicalize the SGML as part of the read/edit/save
> round trip.

I think that XMetaL comes pretty close.It has a "raw text" mode that you
can switch back and forth to. Some HTML editors (e.g. DreamWeaver) also
have this concept so maybe hands-off editing will be a standard feature
of XML editors in a few years.

In the meantime I use whatever text editor I happen to have installed.
Yes my knuckles also drag on the ground.

 Paul Prescod