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December 5, 2006

XML 2006: Transitioning from SGML to XML at Cessna

A very interesting presentation from Michael Hahn, focused on the transition Cessna is making from SGML-based to XML-based authoring.

He broke down the conversion issues into three types:

  • Tools
  • Process
  • People

It should come as no surprise that the last one presents the biggest problem. Most of the conferences I attend are tech writer-heavy; this conference is clearly XML Geek Central. It’s interesting to see how this universe perceives authors; for example, in the Cessna session, I heard things like:

  • “The changes are basically transparent to the authors, but they’re going to have a fit anyway.”
  • “The authors complain whenever we change anything.”

Most of the people here seemed perplexed by the authors and their weird foibles.