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Re: [docbook] Re: XML Editors

Steinar Bang wrote:

Robert P J Day <> writes:

having been through the "which editor should i use" wars myself,

More like a shared frustration that there aren't really any
satisfactory editors out there, to offer today's MSWord users.
No free tools, at least.  I've heard good things about XMetal, but I
have never tried it.

I've used XMetaL for small DocBook projects over the past 2 or 3 years. It is (or was) totally adequate to the task and offered excellent flexibility in that there were text, tags and tags-off views of the edited content as well as a reasonable CSS-IE-driven preview window. In addition, until the new version 4 release, it was possible to adopt a very flexible approach to customization, from light, user-controlled changes in behaviour all the way over to complete gutting and rebuilding via forms and scripting. XMetaL was my "editor of choice" for XML and the occasional excursion into SGML (or even by extension HTML).

With version 4, Corel has changed the packaging and marketing approach by getting further into bed with the Windows platform. The packaging sees a partitioning of XMetaL into developer versions and a run-time version. The developer version requires MS Visual Studio. The run-time version no longer contains the forms-designer functionality of earlier versions; it's not clear what else has been removed because Corel is not responding to queries on its mailing list and the marketing info on the Corel site is vague, at least when last I looked. In addition, it's extremely inconvenient to evaluate the changes because, at last scan, only the developer version of the product was available for download and testing. One thing is clear, SGML is no longer a part of XMetaL's functionality.

My take on this is that Corel, in response to the $25M MS cash infusion of a year or so ago, changed its direction with this product by adopting the Visual Studio infrastructure. Perhaps I'm deluded, but it's not hard to imagine a scenario in which that decision being made, Microsoft's mission to neuter a potentially competing product was accomplished and they then started shopping their interest in Corel to the VC market. I think they sold it off a month or two ago. I admit this is over simplified in that Corel has not been doing itself a lot of good on other fronts either. But I think there are shadows of truth there.

In any event, XMetaL has become a more difficult "buy" decision as a result of changes to version 4 because of the added weight of baggage it brings to the organization. The changes seem to leave the individual, small to medium business environment in the lurch. And the whole thing makes XML advocacy in markets other than the traditional technical publishing bastions very, very difficult indeed.

Too bad.


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