If you are a technical writer or information designer and you have never worked with XML, you might be wondering why you should bother with XML. Using XML for authoring technical documents has a number of advantages for writers that can make it very worthwhile to consider.
1. XML is an international standard
XML is a document standard that is maintained by the W3C, an organization that is responsible for Web standards. XML documents are vendor-neutral, and they are not tied to one application or one company.
2. The name says it all: eXtensible
XML uses XML elements or tags to define document structure. By defining the document structure, you can then use outside processes such as style sheets to manipulate and reuse content. By separating content from display, you can use a single source of content and use it in many different contexts.
3. One size fits all users
Content re-use saves companies money and makes authors more efficient. XML supports and promotes these sorts of processes by being flexible and modular. You can create content, and then re-use that content in different documents.
4. You can separate content from display formatting
XML allows you to separate content from format. The formatting of the XML document is inside a separate style sheet. This separation allows you to easily maintain and update formatting as needs change. It is easy to maintain a consistent style for all documents when the content is separate from the formatting.
5. XML can make your writing more efficient
XML is very helpful when you publish in more than one language and when you publish different types of documents from the same source. By storing content in XML source files, you can reduce translation costs. Then if you need to create documents in several languages, you can publish your files by just clicking a button. You don’t need to fiddle with the formatting of the documents. This formatting is automatically applied when you publish your source XML files.
–by Susan Bodnik
For more information visit: