A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Gross, Mark

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Alternatives to XML: Keeping Down your Document Conversion Costs

While I'm a big fan of XML for many purposes, it's a misconception that it's the single best solution in every scenario, and it's worthwhile to consider the alternatives in situations where the benefits of XML are not necessary. In this article, I discuss alternatives to XML, SGML, and HTML that might be suitable when budgets are more limited. While XML is perfect for highly coded information, other options can work well for many kinds of information. Markup languages are at the high end of the cost spectrum, so if you don't need the benefits they provide, you certainly should consider the alternatives discussed below.

Gross, Mark. Data Conversion Laboratory (2009). Articles>Content Management>Information Design>XML


Converting to XML: Is it Always the Answer?

Although managing costs is important anytime, it is especially important in today's economic reality where budgets are shrinking drastically. Getting your money's worth as well as what you need to support your data should be a core factor of any data project. The two biggest cost factors are the type of conversion work you need done and how much of it you'll need. This article focuses on how your goals for your project relate to the output format you choose, and how that format impacts costs. While some outputs, like XML, provide higher capabilities, they also cost more to create.

Gross, Mark. Data Conversion Laboratory (2009). Articles>Content Management>Information Design>XML


The Myth that Software Will Save the World   (PDF)

There is a perception that off-the-shelf automated conversion software will accurately transfer documents from one system to another. In the author's experience pre-packaged software does not work well on any significant, large project. Large documentation libraries are developed over time by a variety of people to meet wide-ranging needs. The documentation set is never as structured as one would hope, and the costs of do-it-yourself solutions are underestimated.

Gross, Mark. STC Proceedings (1993). Articles>Software>Technology

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