RE: Tech writers, cookbooks, and XML

Subject: RE: Tech writers, cookbooks, and XML
From: Steve Shepard <STEVES -at- YARDI -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001 21:12:25 -0800

Well, in the middle of this discussion I purchased the MasterCook 6.0 recipe
management program. It includes a ton of recipes as well as being able to
create your own. Very flexible. Handles recipes, nutritional info, shopping
lists, etc. I was playing with the import/export function and took a look at
it's export files in UltraEdit. Low and behold, it's in XML. Well, I need to
learn XML, so I figure learning how to decipher the program's XML output and
recreate the necessary DTD it would probably be a pretty good start on
learning XML.

So now I am looking for recommendations of books on beginning XML. Any

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Collier

I think good general technical writing principles would apply, like no more
than one step per instruction. An imperative statement ("do this, but not
that") could require an explanation.

If you are interested in learning XML, this would be a good exercise for it.
Think of all of the elements an XML recipe document should have:

...many others I'm sure...

Create a document type definition (DTD) that defines how these elements are
used (for example, you can require that an <INSTRUCTION> element contains
only one <STEP> element, and you can allow multiple <INSTRUCTION> elements;
further, if there is an <IMPERATIVE> element you can require that it has an
<EXPLANATION>.) Validate your recipe documents against this DTD.

After you've done all this and told Grandma that her beef stew recipe
doesn't conform to the DTD, order take-out as you won't have time to cook.

There is a good introductory article on XML in the April 1999 issue of STC's

Intercom that is very helpful (full text not online though).

Michael Collier, Technical Writer Office: N546
Information Systems Laboratory
Applied Research Laboratories: The University of Texas at Austin
Voice: 512-835-3408 e-mail: mcollier -at- arlut -dot- utexas -dot- edu

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