Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The color of words

This week's ITWorld article The color of words concerns the non-use of color as a cognitive aid in word processing.

After twenty years in the SGML/XML markup trenches, I have come to the conclusion that for narrative-heavy structured documents, color coding inside an otherwise normal word processor has a lot to offer over more traditional in-your-face structured authoring approaches.

Take something like OpenOffice for example. A nice clean XML notation for the base files. Yummy. Now add a customisation layer to allow colour coding to be used instead of custom tags by authors/editors. Now add a two-way converstion from the colour coded markup to semantic markup and versa visa. Whaddaya got? A lot. Not least of which is a happy author/editor community - a rarity in the in-your-face semantic markup world.

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