[xml-h] what would you like?

Nico van de Water nicovdwater@planet.nl
Sat Jan 18 11:12:37 GMT 2003

Hello Simon and other list members,

I am Nico van de Water, and relatively new to, what I call, the "X world":
XML, XSLT and the like. By way of background, the following: I have been a
translator for nearly 24 years, who got involved in software localization in
1987, and moved into technical writing a few years later. In all these
capacities, I worked with tagged environments (IBM, DEC's DECwrite, and
eventually HTML). A few years ago, from HTML, I branched into two main areas
of application: XML as an alternative (to "normal" databases) to structure
the tons of terminology and translation memories that I had gathered and
generated myself, and XHTML-Strict (currently, still 1.0) to write my own
web site (still not completed).

To answer the question "What would you like?", I would like to rephrase that
in "What do I want to do?". My single answer is that I am searching for a
way to not only structure the material I work with (terminology,
multilingual glossaries, documentation, on-line Help, etc.), but also to be
able to a) share this information (after all, I write documentation in
various formats to enlighten the reader), and b) present it in various
formats and on different 'platforms' (hard-copy print, internet and
intranets, between computer systems and users, etc.). My "official" learning
curve is a joke (three one-day courses in web site design/HTML, XML, and
XSLT, respectively), with a heavy investment in books, which must have
brought smiles on the faces of several WROX, O'Reilly and QUE sales people.
By the way, the courses were good, but too short to truly get a grasp on

So far, it has been a bit of a struggle: the internet, forums and e-mail are
all fine to swap ideas, but to really discuss them (or rather, problems and
possible solutions), I prefer face-to-face contact. In addition, I, with a
linguisitic rather than a programming background, still find XSLT quite
baffling, and get really confused by all the 'versions' or 'releases' of
XHTML, XML, subsets, Dublin Core, etc. I believe that ultimately I will have
my one and all-encompassing terminology/TM-accommodating structure that I
can share and present, and I truly appreciate the generous efforts by the X
world community at large to further develop ideas, systems, solutions and
all to enlighten and help the less-gifted in this X world (of which I am
one). But the one thing I miss is a problem-solution-based approach, as
opposed to a system-based approach. What I mean is the following: I have
specific material that I want to structure, utilize and present. To work my
way through 3 times 1,100 pages (as I did) ... is there an alternative?

I do not want to sound overly negative. It is just that I am sometimes
exhausted from ploughing through various books, with examples that still
treat the subject matter in an isolated way. Therefore, to take the bull by
the horns, are there any list members who live in the Netherlands (or, more
specifically, in the vicinity of the city of Nijmegen) who would like to
meet and discuss both theoretical aspects and practical solutions, so that
we could publish these on for example this list? Would this list be open to
discuss practical issues (as in "I would like to this and that with such and
so material/contents"), development aspects (data -> XML -> XHTML, or
data -> XML -> database-like searching/filtering), and for example, to play
devil's advocate here, what are content management systems, where do
database aspects creep in, how do you go about setting up a CMS, et cetera?

If there is one thing I like about this new list, it is the more holistic
(hypertext+XML) approach, rather than the isolated, separate XML, XSLT and
XHTML forums (valuable though they probably are to the majority of the X
world). I will try and contribute to the best of my -- limited -- ablities.
For the time being, I think that all I can do is ask questions.

In the meantime, thanks for your time. I hope it wasn't wasted.


Nico van de Water, MITIA.
Technical communicator

-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
Van: xml-hypertext-admin@xmlhack.com
[mailto:xml-hypertext-admin@xmlhack.com]Namens Simon St.Laurent
Verzonden: vrijdag 17 januari 2003 21:29
Aan: xml-hypertext@xmlhack.com
Onderwerp: [xml-h] what would you like?

We've started a couple of threads, but it might also be nice to talk
about the concerns and possibilities that brought people here.

Personally, I've been doing hypertext for a long time, starting in
HyperCard, moving through HTML, and then into XML.  XML has in many ways
felt like a long detour to me, since I've spent huge amounts of time
(and fortunately often been paid for it) working on XML projects that
had little or nothing to do with hypertext.

I'm hoping with this list to refocus on hypertext and explore some new
possibilities.  I love the simplicity of HTML hypertext (and like the
XHTML 2.0 href/src everywhere even more), but I'm also still looking for
ways to do things like the keyword-based hypertext I used to do in
HyperCard.  I'm also intrigued by the possibility of storing links in
"linkbases", lists of links which are separate from the documents they

Anyone else care to talk about what intrigues them about hypertext
and/or XML?

Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!
http://simonstl.com -- http://monasticxml.org

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