Newsgroups: comp.text.sgml
Date: 11 Oct 1994 06:14:03 UT
From: "W. Eliot Kimber" <kimber@passage.com>
Organization: Passage Systems, Inc.
Message-ID: <kimber.89.00013C07@passage.com>
References: <CxGqyy.Kvq@osuunx.ucc.okstate.edu>
Subject: Re: Anyone have any info about WORD's recent SGML release?


[Mark Walter]

|   In simple terms, it maps Word document template styles to SGML elements
|   and attributes, but, in fact, it handles quite a few of the messy
|   instances where these two document representations do not map on a
|   one-to-one basis.  It covers everything you can do in Word, including
|   math and tables.

[Richard Wal Matzen]

|   This seems to imply that the formatting info associated with the styles
|   is output to the SGML file.  However, in all of the Microsoft press
|   releases I havent seen any references to style info being output.  So
|   my questions are:
|   Does anyone know if/how this product handles the exchange of style
|   (formatting) info?  Is any style info output?  If so, how complete is
|   it and in what form is it: attributes?  Similar to Rainbow DTD?

The above inference is incorrect.  The quoted quote makes it sound like the
mapping from styles to SGML is *automatically* defined, but this is not the
case.  Someone (you or some specialist) must define the mapping from a
given set of styles to a particular SGML document type.

As a rule, the style definition for an SGML document is separate from the
document itself (e.g., FOSIs, DynaText style sheets, etc.) so it is
generally not meaningful to talk about style exchange in this context
(e.g., going from creating a structured document in Word that is exported
as SGML).  In other words, the purpose of Word's SGML tools is not really
to allow you to export any arbitrary Word document in some sort of
equivalent SGML form, but to allow you to create in Word documents that
conform to a specific document type.  The same is true of Word Perfect's

However, there's nothing that prevents you from defining a Rainbow-type DTD
that has the elements and/or attributes needed to capture the style
information that might be in Word documents, such as paragraph-level format
changes.  However, it would be up to you to define both the DTD and the
mappings to it from Word -- Microsoft cannot provide that out of the box
because every case will be different.

I saw a demo of this product at Seybold and it seemed to have some
interesting features.  I am hesitant to characterize it, but from what I
saw it seemed to fall somewhere between Intellitag and FrameBuilder in
terms of support for structured authoring and its import and export
facilities.  The Microsoft representatives were careful to characterize it
as a first step in a continuum of structure- and SGML-based authoring
tools.  They have, for example, partnered with SoftQuad to provide a true
SGML editor (a stripped-down version of Author/Editor) for doing
post-export cleanup.

The Microsoft people impressed me with their candor and their understanding
of SGML and the limitations of their product.  They appear to have avoided
the mistakes of their predecessors and have not tried to oversell what
they're offering.  From what I've seen, it appears to be a tool that can
fit into a larger SGML-based strategy that includes a variety of tools,
SGML and non-SGML, appropriate to specific users and tasks.

<Address HyTime=bibloc>
W. Eliot Kimber (kimber@passage.com) Systems Analyst and HyTime Consultant
Passage Systems, Inc., 9971 Quail Blvd., Suite 903, Austin TX 78758 +1 512 339
465 Fairchild Dr., Suite 201, Mountain View, CA  94043, +1 415 390 0911