Monday, February 27, 2017

Custom semantics inside HTML containers

This article of mine from 2006 (I had to dig it out of the way back machine!) Master Foo's Taxation Theory of Microformats came back to mind today when I read this piece Beyond XML: Making Books with HTML. It is gratifying to see this pattern start to take hold. I.e. leveraging an existing author/edit toolchain rather than building a new one. We do this all the time in Propylon, leveraging off-the-self toolsets supporting flexible XML document models (XHTML, .docx, .odt) but encoding the semantics and the business rules we need in QA/QC pipelines. Admittedly, we are mostly dealing with complex, messy document types like legislation, professional guidance, policies, contracts etc. but then again, if your data set is not messy, you might be better off using a relational database to model your data and use the relational model to drive your author/edit sub-system in the classic record/field-oriented style.