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looking for a mentor

 
 
Thats Me
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      12-17-2005
Task assigned is to assist in developing markup templates and rules
for conversion of a group of technical manuals in MSWord from
MIL-DTL-81928 to MIL-STD-3001. Am familiar with the basic concepts of
XML and the 3001 DTDs, though the nuances are some time away yet.

The central goal is to convert as close to the requirements of
MIL-STD-3001 for the type of manual and it's context as possible with
out changing technical content or meaning.

Need some one with knowledge of MIL-STD-3001 willing to mentor me in
overcoming issues where data from existing style of manual does not
lend itself to the form in MIL-STD-3001 (I.E. single Work Package in
old style contains most of the elements applicable to single manual in
the new style). It could be said this manual is a group of
mini-manuals for the repair of components of a component.

Another area where assistance is need is with understanding the FOSI,
(XSLT would be the way to go but the spec requires the use of a
provided FOSI, maybe Arbortext had a finger in the pot when the spec
was approved), so I could have an educated guess of what the use of
creative tagging would do to the PDF output without having to tag up a
dummy doc and transform it.

 
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Peter Flynn
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      12-18-2005
Thats Me wrote:

> Task assigned is to assist in developing markup templates and rules
> for conversion of a group of technical manuals in MSWord from
> MIL-DTL-81928 to MIL-STD-3001. Am familiar with the basic concepts of
> XML and the 3001 DTDs, though the nuances are some time away yet.
>
> The central goal is to convert as close to the requirements of
> MIL-STD-3001 for the type of manual and it's context as possible with
> out changing technical content or meaning.


The DynaTag program was designed specifically with applications like
this in mind, AFAIK. In theory it should still be available from Engima,
but as they know nothing about SGML or XML they have probably dropped it
on the floor instead of making money from it. However it is apparently
also available from Red Bridge Software (www.rbii.com, who just happen
to occupy original author EBT's premises

DynaTag lets you display a representative Word document with all the
named styles shown. You can then map them to element types of your
choice, in effect making up an XML document on-the-fly, including adding
containers around groups of elements (eg turning a sequence of ITEMs
into a LIST). Both character-level and paragraph-level markup is
supported, and the output XML includes a DTD deduced from the element
type names you have given. You can then let it rip on a whole
folder-full of similar files, amending any unmatched markup oddities as
you go. That's Stage 1....

> Need some one with knowledge of MIL-STD-3001 willing to mentor me in
> overcoming issues where data from existing style of manual does not
> lend itself to the form in MIL-STD-3001 (I.E. single Work Package in
> old style contains most of the elements applicable to single manual in
> the new style). It could be said this manual is a group of
> mini-manuals for the repair of components of a component.


....Conversions like this tend to be two-stage. The first stage is to
extract the data from the non-XML format into some form -- almost any
form -- of XML. The second stage is to use XSLT or similar to reprocess
the data into the target format. Sometimes it may take a third or fourth
stage, and may involve some non-XML processing.

> Another area where assistance is need is with understanding the FOSI,


Uhuh...

> (XSLT would be the way to go but the spec requires the use of a
> provided FOSI, maybe Arbortext had a finger in the pot when the spec
> was approved), so I could have an educated guess of what the use of
> creative tagging would do to the PDF output without having to tag up a
> dummy doc and transform it.


It's going to take a _long_ time for FOSIs to fold, I'm afraid.

///Peter

 
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Thats Me
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      12-20-2005
On Sun, 18 Dec 2005 00:27:07 +0000, Peter Flynn
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

Peter,

Thanks for your reply. An existing DTD and FOSI are mandated so any
modification in that area is not allowed. Worked two books since I
wrote the request for assistance, found I would need 22 XSLT's to
handle the different methods used by the various editors to create the
Word docs for just these two. I think I could create an untagged ACSII
file of the data and Tag it or do a template and cut and paste to it
faster than creating the necessary XSLT's.

In a meeting on Monday it was discovered that the people "in charge"
are of the belief that XML and the MIL-STD-3001 is a style markup
language when it is designed as a content markup language. What they
do not grasp (or don't want to believe) is that the Technical content
determines the tag used and the style applied to that item is
determined by the FOSI and the DTD mandates a different order and
structure than currently exists with the content items.

At the meeting, received directions to make the converted books look
as much like the old form as possible. This I will do (how I'm not
sure yet).

I can see the scenario now;
Use creative tagging to produce document that approximates current
document,
DTD and FOSI get updates or changed to XSL and XML Schema,
In three years, book requires data update and re-publish.
Contract to update issued.

Opps! Won't validate and software can't produce product since updated
DTD / FOSI are now more restrictive or won't handle the existing
creative tagging. Fix creative tagging with more creative tagging.
Never ending process, getting more difficult and expensive, with every
occurrence.

Job security, heck yes. Stress level, maximum. Compensation received,
not near enough. I have real pity for the fellow or lady that someday
gets task with putting this data into a Content Management System.

Thanks for letting me vent.


>Thats Me wrote:

------8<- Snipped ->8------
>
>...Conversions like this tend to be two-stage. The first stage is to
>extract the data from the non-XML format into some form -- almost any
>form -- of XML. The second stage is to use XSLT or similar to reprocess
>the data into the target format. Sometimes it may take a third or fourth
>stage, and may involve some non-XML processing.
>
>> Another area where assistance is need is with understanding the FOSI,

>
>Uhuh...
>
>> (XSLT would be the way to go but the spec requires the use of a
>> provided FOSI, maybe Arbortext had a finger in the pot when the spec
>> was approved), so I could have an educated guess of what the use of
>> creative tagging would do to the PDF output without having to tag up a
>> dummy doc and transform it.

>
> It's going to take a _long_ time for FOSIs to fold, I'm afraid.
>
>///Peter


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Peter Flynn
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      12-21-2005
Thats Me wrote:

> On Sun, 18 Dec 2005 00:27:07 +0000, Peter Flynn
> <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> Peter,
>
> Thanks for your reply. An existing DTD and FOSI are mandated so any
> modification in that area is not allowed.


That's pretty much standard for milspec stuff.

> Worked two books since I
> wrote the request for assistance, found I would need 22 XSLT's to
> handle the different methods used by the various editors to create the
> Word docs for just these two. I think I could create an untagged ACSII
> file of the data and Tag it or do a template and cut and paste to it
> faster than creating the necessary XSLT's.


Many producers just ship the whole lot out to the Pacific Rim and
get back fully-marked XML. But that may not be an option for you.

> In a meeting on Monday it was discovered that the people "in charge"
> are of the belief that XML and the MIL-STD-3001 is a style markup
> language when it is designed as a content markup language. What they
> do not grasp (or don't want to believe) is that the Technical content
> determines the tag used and the style applied to that item is
> determined by the FOSI and the DTD mandates a different order and
> structure than currently exists with the content items.


This is very common. It's extremely hard to overcome some of these
misunderstandings.

> At the meeting, received directions to make the converted books look
> as much like the old form as possible. This I will do (how I'm not
> sure yet).


XSLT.

> I can see the scenario now;
> Use creative tagging to produce document that approximates current
> document,
> DTD and FOSI get updates or changed to XSL and XML Schema,
> In three years, book requires data update and re-publish.
> Contract to update issued.
>
> Opps! Won't validate and software can't produce product since updated
> DTD / FOSI are now more restrictive or won't handle the existing
> creative tagging. Fix creative tagging with more creative tagging.
> Never ending process, getting more difficult and expensive, with every
> occurrence.


Yep. I've given up taking clients like this.

> Job security, heck yes. Stress level, maximum. Compensation received,
> not near enough. I have real pity for the fellow or lady that someday
> gets task with putting this data into a Content Management System.


If they have the money, let them make the mistakes, but ensure that your
statement of how it should be done remains prominent.

///Peter
--
XML FAQ: http://xml.silmaril.ie/

 
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