Transclusion is pulling content dynamically from one page into another page. Rather than cutting and pasting text from one page to another, you create a pointer to the page you are borrowing from. That pointer is resolved at run time, pulling content from the other page when your page is loaded. Transclusion was a fundamental part of Ted Nelson’s original concept of hypertext. It has never caught on, except in specific confined circumstances. Despite continued interest, it isn’t going to catch on.
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.
“We are all publishers now” — It is one of the defining tropes of content strategy, spoken, in one form or another, by many of the pioneers of the field. So if when say, “We Are None of Us Publishers Anymore,” am I just being even more contrarian than usual?
Not really. Phrases like these are more about course correction than they are about defining the center line of a field. If you are heading into the ditch on the left side of the road, you need to make a turn to the right. But if you keep turning right, you will end up in the ditch on the right hand side of the road.
I recently wrote the following in a comment on Tom Johnson’s blog post What Tools Do Technical Writers Use:
That writers are still expected to do their own publishing strikes me as one of the tragedies of the profession, and a major part of why tech pubs does not get the respect it thinks it deserves in organizations. It is a big part of the reason that so many people still dismiss what tech pubs does as “making it pretty”.
It was not the most deeply considered statement I have ever written, and when I read it over after having posted it, I rather wondered at the sentiment it expressed. Why exactly should engaging in publishing lose you respect? It’s not as if people universally lack respect for publishing. It’s not as if publishing is something akin to pyromania or politics, rightly despised by all. Yes, there is the “making it pretty” thing, but why exactly should the ability to make content pretty lose you respect? People are not generally opposed to pretty. They like pretty. They pay a lot of money for pretty.
What constitutes a “real” XML editor? The question is perennial, but is made topical by Tom Aldous’ surprisingly shrill defense of FrameMaker as an XML editor. It is unusual for a market-leading company to indulge in myth-busting aimed at tiny competitors. It is an approach more common to the small and desperate. But if we look past the oddness of Adobe employing this tactic, we see that the question of whether FrameMaker is a real XML editor, as with almost all debates about what makes a “real” anything, is not a debate about the product’s features, but a debate about what “real” means in the context.