The enormous improvements in quality and productivity that have occurred in industry over the last several decades can, in large part, be attributed to a focus on improving first-run quality. In traditional production line environments, the golden rule was never to stop the production line. Any faults that might occur or be noticed while the product was on the production line were to be allowed to pass on, to be found and fixed in post production testing. Come hell or high water, though, the line must never stop.
Sometimes microblogging questions require macroblogging answers. Here’s the conversation:
@arh: Did @hixie really call XML a “disaster”? Is #techcomm aware of this? http://html5doctor.com/interview-with-ian-hickson-html-editor/
@mbakeranalecta: @arh XML is a disaster. Bad implementation of an essential concept. So is QWERTY. So it goes.
@arh: @mbakeranalecta Generally agreed. What concerns me are the #techcomm folks who think XHTML is “the future”.
@mbakeranalecta: @arh If people don’t see the value in making content mutable and addressable, then presentation formats are all they care about.
Today, Alan Houser (@arh) tweeted:
Before I die, I want to hear somebody speak well of their CMS. Especially in #techcomm. Surely somebody must be happy with theirs.
To which I (@mbakeranalecta) replied:
Indeed, but the CMS model is wrong. Can’t manage large data sets on desktop model. Can’t have good implementation of a broken model.
Which needs more explanation than 140 characters allows. So here goes. The problem with CMS generally is that they apply one scale of solution to a different scale of problem.
Links are expensive. That’s a problem, because the web is, and always has been, a hypertext medium, a medium of links. Links, as I have argued previously, are the last mile of findability. Links are how readers move around in your content. More importantly, links are what keep readers in your content, rather than Googling off to who knows where. SEO is how you get eyes on your content; links are how you keep them there.
What if you could create more links in less time? You can. I call it soft linking.
Every time I talk with someone about metadata, I have the feeling we are talking past each other, at least a little. We are both using the same word, “metadata”, but it often seems like we mean different thing by it. So, what does “metadata” mean?
Metadata is simply data about data, or, to put it another way, data that describes other data. Metadata is ubiquitous. Indeed most data is useless without metadata to tell us what it means. And because metadata is also data, we need metadata to tell us what the metadata means.
The one concession I have been willing to make to the fine chunking characteristic of many DITA implementations is that it was a boon to translation. Apparently not so, according to a recent blog post on Content Rules.
The problem is that fine chunking tends to obscure context, making the content impossible to translate reliably. And the real kicker in this problem is that even if the translator is given the means to see the content in the current context or contexts, the source may be reused in new contexts later without the translator being involved again or ever seeing the content in its new context. (This is where the savings are realized, after all.)