A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Spinellis, Diomidis

5 found.

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Backwards Compatibility in Office Open XML

As a member of my country's national standards body committee on electronic data processing, I lately spend considerable time deliberating what our position should be in the upcoming Office Open XML ISO Ballot Resolution Meeting in Geneva. My biggest objection concerns large parts of the standard that are proposed to live in an Annex containing normative descriptions of deprecated features that will only be used by existing binary documents. The rationale behind this decision is backwards compatibility. My opinion is that this solution is counterproductive for a number of reasons.

Spinellis, Diomidis. Spinellis (2008). Articles>Word Processing>XML>Microsoft Word


Basic Etiquette of Technical Communication

Parents spend years trying to teach their children to be polite, and some of us had to learn at school how to properly address an archbishop. Yet, it seems that advice on courteousness and politeness in technical communication is in short supply; most of us learn these skills through what is euphemistically called “on the job training.” With enough bruises on my back to demonstrate the amount and variety of my experience in this area (though not my skill), here are some of the things I’ve learned.

Spinellis, Diomidis. IEEE Software (2009). Articles>TC>Technical Writing>Professionalism


The Price of Cheap Labor

Many tasks, like data entry, quality control, or even medical diagnosis, can be performed by cheap labor or with the application of advanced technology. For instance, we can retype an old printed document or we can scan it and run optical character recognition on the image. With easy access to a low-paid foreign workforce many organizations are being seduced to the road of cheap labor, but this is short-sighted.

Spinellis, Diomidis. Spinellis (2009). Articles>Management>Outsourcing>Offshoring


Using and Abusing XML

By adopting XML, we can take advantage of the scores of tools that work on arbitrary XML documents. Common tasks, like editing, validation, transformations, and queries, are then just a matter of selecting and applying the right tool. Also, we can then apply the experience we gain with these tools on other documents we come across in our work.

Spinellis, Diomidis. Spinellis (2008). Articles>Information Design>XML


XML Abstraction at the Wrong Level

Over the last month I've encountered two applications that use XML at the wrong level of abstraction. Instead of tailoring the schema to their needs, they use a very abstract schema, and encode their elements at a meta level within the XML data. This approach hinders the verification and manipulation of the corresponding XML files. The two culrpits I have identified are the iTunes digital jukebox, and the Dia drawing program.

Spinellis, Diomidis. Spinellis (2005). Articles>Information Design>XML

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