In a recent discussion on the STCCIC-SIG list, Mark Baker of Analecta Communications provided an excellent analysis of DocBook, DITA, and how they are not the same thing as XML. (The discussion is reproduced here with Mark’s permission.)
Before the invention of movable type, book publishing was technologically possible, but prohibitively expensive. Printing involved carving the contents of a page onto a wooden block — backwards — and then basically stamping that ink-covered block onto a page. Each wooden block was usable only for a single, specific page. Movable type, developed by Johannes Gutenberg and others, took the granularity of print technology from the page down to the character level. This innovation changed the economics of printing, and led to affordable books and the spread of literacy.
The advances in digital rights management lead to the restriction or elimination of fair use rights. It’s interesting that the Google Print program resides at the opposite extreme.
This week is apparently DRM Week here at Palimpsest…
First, Microsoft announces Metro, the alleged “PDF Killer.” Now, we have Acrylic, which is supposed to take on Photoshop and possibly Illustrator.
I have a pattern of learning things The Hard Way. That is, get a book, dive in, and just do it. Eventually, some order emerges from the chaos, and one day, it all starts to make sense. This approach has failed once or twice — my ill-fated attempts to learn Perl come to mind.
The state of the XML tool universe is…strange.
Jim Rapoza at eWeek had an interesting suggestion in regard to the Adobe/Macromedia merger. He notes that the sorting and sifting that follows most software mergers leads to some products fading away. Some actually get a funeral but often there is simply a loss of interest. Rapoza suggests turning over these orphans to the open-source community.