Publicious Links: The Dude, Where’s My Blog? Edition

And we’re back.

Sometime Monday the domain mapping that transforms mild-mannered “” to it’s super hero identity “” expired. Silly me, forgot to pay the bill. For about 48 hours, I was thinking I had offended some very important bots in Internetland. All the incoming links to Publicious disappeared and traffic was down more than 90%. It felt like Publicious had been put in solitary confinement.

After the inital shock, I said, “Oh well, whatever. Home alone at last. Now that everyone’s gone, I have all the time in the world and the whole internet to myself. Maybe I’ll just put on some Carpenters, kick back with bag of Cheetos, and check out SpongeBob On Demand.”

Every sha-la-la, Every whoa-o-oh, still shines.


But then I got lonely. I finally figured out I should check one of the sites that links here and see what happens. Bingo. A hop, skip, and credit card payment later, I am once again master of my domain. Now, help yourself to some Cheetos. On with the show.

Might as well start with my latest post at, Snippet Style InJectors. I stumbled on this idea when I was preparing for a presentation last fall, and noticed that all the document resources used by a snippet get placed before the snippet itself. I said to myself, “Self, this could be useful someday.”

Drawn! the cartoon and illustration blog has an interesting video of an artist laying out a comic book in InDesign. You’ll never look at the Pencil tool the same way again.

Miverity has a tutorial on how to build a Flash XML slideshow app for a website.

Smashing Magazine has an article on Ten Simple Steps to Better Photoshop Performance. Life is short, no time for beachball cursrors.

The Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog has an good article on ebook format wars. Which one will end up the Betamax of the 21st century?

Speaking of which…

InformationWeek weighs in on the same ebook format issue, with a Sony v. Amazon angle.

Gigaom is ready to declare a winner: Adobe, because of Sony’s embrace of EPUB.

Relatedly (is that a word? if not, I just made it one) Digital Media Buzz has the scoop on Adobe’s Open Source efforts.

Thinking of using an online word processor? Read’s comparison of GoogleDocs, Zoho, and Buzzword.

Quick, how do you make a dotted line in Photoshop? Sitepoint has some nice quick tips about using Photoshop brush options for dotted lines and such.

One writer thinks the bloom is off the Rich Internet App rose already, with the arrival of Google’s Chrome. Please, don’t be evil, Google. Please. has some ‘tony tutorials (as in duotone, tritone, etc).

Finally, if you’ve ever wished to see Photoshop and Illustrator battle to the death as giant transformer robots with foul language (and who hasn’t?) I recommend checking out GoMediaZine’s ongoing Photoshop vs. Illustrator series.

Publicious Links: The (Insert Theme Here) Edition

Crowdsourcing is all the rage nowadays, so I thought I’d make, er, empower you all to come up with your own theme this week. Yeah, that’s it.

Here’s your template:

Intro paragraph citing some current event, 
with possibly strained metaphor to publishing technology.
Jokey second paragraph with parentheticals (galore).
<<insert goofy Photoshopped graphic>>
Closing paragraph, ending with a one-word sentence. Really.

Adobe is taking this crowdsourcing thing seriously, with a few new initiatives that seek to tap the power of the hivemind. First, Adobe Community Publishing is a rich internet application that allows/requests/begs you to write and upload content related to Adobe applications to their site.

Adobe CommunityIcon

It’s like a blogging tool where your content is published directly to Adobe’s site. After you sign in with your Adobe ID, you pick a template:

Picture 3

And have at it.

Picture 2

Secondly, is also looking for a few of your good ideas. Got a feature or functionality request? Go over to and make your voice heard.

Also in a nod to crowdpower, Serna has make its Syntext XML editor open source.

Back in the day, the only people who could see music were in psychiatric wards and Grateful Dead shows. Now any shmoe with Photoshop can see music, edit it, and save it back as a sound file. Head over to Photosounder for info on editing audio files as images in Photoshop.

Design Science, makers of MathType, Math Flow, and Kraft Matharoni and Cheese (jk), has a useful guide to Math in eBooks, in the ePub standard.

While we’re on the XML subject, might as well point out the XML in Practice Conference coming up at the end of September in D.C. I learned a ton at the one in Boston a couple years ago. And I got a MarkLogic t-shirt, which catapulted me to a level of geek usually unseen in the Boston area outside the MIT campus. Maybe I can get Johnny Cupcakes to hack the design, and we can sell ’em for $40 a pop.

Don’t touch that PDF if you don’t know where it’s been. Especially if it has a trojan virus embedded in a tiny Flash video.  Apparently we still have to be suspicious of PDF from unknown sources.

Typophile has a neat Flash tutorial on Typography 101.

Laughing Lion Design has a tutorial on achieving a letterpress effect in Photoshop.

Finally, over at my home away from home, InDesign Secrets, Steve Werner has posted tips and tricks for interactive Buttons in PDF (via InDesign).

Till next time, (insert closing).

Publicious Links: The Parallelepiped Edition

Had a “whoa” moment a little while ago. Whilst taking a deep dive into Adobe history and technology, I came across an article on the math behind Bézier curves. If you’ve ever used any of the Creative Suite apps, you know what these are. They’re the edges of objects you shape by pulling little control handles attached to the ends of lines. You can draw pretty much any shape by varying the number, length, and angle of the control handles.

I’d known for many years about the man who invented these curves, Pierre Bézier. He was a French engineer who used them to design precisely manufactured auto parts for Renault. They also come in quite handy in computer graphics. But what I’d never seen before is the control handles in the context of the 3-D shape they describe: a parallelepiped. Here’s the article that blew one of my 100 amp geek fuses. What amazes me is that I never realized how I was in effect, pulling and pushing these control handles in three-dimensional space. Hence the “whoa.” You are warned, there is math involved. If you ever wish you could play with Bézier curves in real life, you can, and probably already did as a kid, with string art.

I’d be remiss to be talking about vectors, without mentioning the VectorBabe, Sandee Cohen. You may know she’s the author of The InDesign Visual Quickstart Guide by PeachPit Press. You may not know she recently launched a blog called From Design to Print to augment her book of the same name.

Sumo Paint is another “whoa” experience. It’s a free, web-based painting application with an interface so full-featured and well-executed, you won’t believe it. Makes you think you could create anything with Flash. has an awesome list article on 25 Excellent Typography Tools for the Serious Designer. Silly designers, you can click the link, but don’t let me catch you goofing around. No funny business.

While you’re at Sixrevisions, also check out another list: Ten Unusual Places to Get Design Inspiration. has an entertaining man-in-the-street video, produced by Google wherein the question posed to the public is “What is a browser?” How horrified you are at the answers = how much of a geek you are. Personally, my favorite is the WAY over-caffeinated lady who says, “I use the Yahoo!”

Occasionally, we are reminded the world is more than pixels and prepress. You can show your support for those protesting the election in Iran by changing your avatar.

Speaking of the Iranian election, I don’t know if it was rigged, but I do know that the government needs to spring for a few of Deke McClelland’s Photoshop videos. Because, as BoingBoing said, Ahmadinijad Sucks at Photoshop.

You can’t get Flash on the iPhone, but thanks to AIR, you can get the iPhone in Flash. Desktop iPhone is an AIR application that simulates the iPhone on your desktop. You can even make phone calls with it.

Drupal is everyone’s favorite open source CMS, n’est ce pas? RefCardz has a free Guide to Getting Started with Drupal.

MarkLogic is offering another free eSeminar for publishers. This time the topic is Three Ways To Innovate: How Smart Publishers are Thriving Now. Count on a lot of “XML is da schizznit” rap.

Finally, Meninos is at it again, making me lust after geek merch. This time it’s Illustrator and Photoshop palette, er, panel magnets. No geek fridge should be without ’em.

Publicious Links: The Father’s Day Edition

So Father’s Day is less than a week away and you’ve procrastinated once again. What are you going to get the old man? Fear not, Publicious is here to help. We’ve got you covered. Provided your dad is a publishing technology geek, who loves free online goodies. Otherwise, you’re on your own.

Let’s face it, he probably doesn’t want a tie. Buuuut, if he’s a CMYK-D.A.D., he might fancy a halftone tie.

You can come up with your own tie patterns if you read my latest post on InDesign Secrets, Pattern Swatches.

How about a portrait of pop? All the cool kids (and most of the geeks) have jumped on the “drawing with type” bandwagon. If you can’t spare the time to pick just the right glyphs for dad’s eyebrows, use the iPhone type drawing app.

If dad’s a type maven, head straight to CreativePro, as Pariah Burke’s done an amazing job tracking down 103 free fonts.

You can’t make dad rich, but you can get him a rich internet application. Adobe’s announced that the AIR framework has been downloaded 200 million times by people installing RIAs. So AIR Nation would be the 6th most populous on Earth, after China, India, the US, Indonesia, and Facebook. TechCrunch has the details and links to some of their favorites.

Dad’s hair thinning? Forget Rogaine. Get a new hair brush. Not the plastic kind, the Photoshop kind. So you can draw Rapunzellesque locks on Pop.

If dad’s out of shape? No problem, download hundreds of custom shapes for Photoshop.

Speaking of Photoshop, take a minute and read the story of Photoshop’s two dads, the brothers Knoll. You must click this link, if only to see the very first Photoshop icon. I am making a t-shirt with that if it’s the last thing I do. I bet a lot of kids won’t even know what it is.

If you were ever a fan of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, you must remember the ones where Calvin showed his dad charts and graphs indicating the steeply declining popularity of dad’s rules. Well, Calvin was no dummy. He automated the making of those charts, with XML data fed into Illustrator.

Finish off Father’s Day with a treat. Cut dad a thick slice of pie a la mode–blending mode, that is. Digitalartform has one of the most thoughtful (and useful) pieces on blending modes I’ve ever read.

Lunchtime Links: The Bailout Bonus Edition

Now that the corporate malfeasance has been dealt with by a powerful surge of re-branding, AIG can go back to standing for “anchored inline graphic.” Whew! For a minute there I was worried we were all screwed. At least now the printers will be happy with all the millions spent on new business cards, stationery, signs, etc.

I just posted a way of using GREP styles with Preview in InDesign to play and learn GREP with fewer tears and gnashing of teeth.

A few other popular GREP reources:

Master Yoda was actually speaking of GREP when he famoulsy croaked, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” He also said of Peter Kahrel’s GREP in InDesign CS3, “A better $10, you will not spend, my young apprentice.”

BBEdit’s GREP tutorial

JetSet Communications Adventures in GREP.

The InDesiger’s Undocumented Bit of GREP Gold.

GREP-free links

This summer Montreal will play host to the XML alpha geek community when the Balisage 2009, conference hits town. Montreal, summer, XML, oui, oui, oui! Anyone interested in being a speaker must submit a paper by April 24th. Ahem, Mr. Damitz, I’m looking at you…

Counting human beans: maybe the AIG bonuses wouldn’t have happened if the execs’ performance had been subjected to this kind of scrutiny.

If you like your graphic design preserved with a good dose of sodium benzoate, check out the magnificent decontrstuction of Pepsi’s new look. at Before&After.

NCAA, meet PDF: in Adobe’s Ultimate Tourney Guide. (Acrobat 9′er required). You only have to pay for it if your picks all lose. Call it a virtual vig. 😉

Lastly: Sherman, set the Wayback Machine for exactly five years ago. When Adobe was touting the new CS as the most important box of software you’d see for the next five years. Guess they didn’t see the fact that in five years, there wouldn’t BE any software in boxes. They were clearly living in the past. If the cloud people have their way, in five years, there won’t be any software on my computer.

See ya, kids. I’m off to collect my bailout bonus: a bowl of Ramen.

Lunchtime Links: The Happy Birthday Publicious Edition

Happy Birthday, Publicious!

One year ago today, I published my first Publicious post. Here we are 150 posts later! This has been incredibly fun, rewarding, and tiring. In honor of the occasion, all of today’s links are staying “in house.” Sort of a Greatest Hits thing. Without further ado, here are the 10 most popular Publicious posts to date, according to the WordPress stats.

10. Über-Master Pages in which Cinnamon shows she is the Buffy of page layout.

9. Adventures in FontStruction in which I re-create the 8-bit Atari glory of my youth, one pixel at a time.

8. House of a Different Color in which I apply a virtual coat of paint to my in-laws’ house, thereby avoiding the actual job. Gotta love digitizing your chores. Now if I could just apply the Scoop filter to the litterbox…

7. Try to Tri-Fold Correctly in which Cinnamon drops the knowledge of just how tricky it is to make a brochure really right. Almost as cool as being able to fold a t-shirt in 2 seconds. Oops, OK, I’ll let that one external link slide.

6. TLF, My New BFF in which I wax rhapsodic about the possibilities of Adobe’s text tech.

5. Streamlining InDesign Templates in which Cinnamon shows how to build an InDesign document right, from the ground up.

4.  Basically Adaptable Styles in which Cinnamon offers up a sequel to her templating hit.

3. The Road to Hell is Paved With Double Clicks in which I reveal to the world just how far I am willing to go down the rabbit hole in search of that last morsel of geek.

2. Is This What a Kindle Killer Looks Like? in which I think I’m smarter than a company that got 615 million visitors to its website last year.

1. CS5 Revealed! in which I play a Nostradorkus, foretelling of the future of publishing tech in a book that I found at my town recycling center one Saturday. It’s Back to the Future, with mullets and vectors.

Now that’s a spicy meatball. First, a huge thanks to Cinnamon, since four of those top ten posts are hers. If only I could sabotage her sewing machine… Second, there are no posts by Eric on that list, simply because his stuff hasn’t been around long enough to accumulate mad stats yet. However, IMNSHO, Eric’s “Bits and Pieces” series should be required reading for anyone who may have to deal with XML in publishing. Which is, like, everyone, right? So here you go.

The Bits and Pieces I: Making XML

The Bits and Pieces II: Content Model

The Bits and Pieces III: Building Blocks

The Bits and Pieces IV: The Vendors

And what’s a birthday without presents? Here’s a gift for everyone: I’ve found another massively talented person to agree to be a contributor. She’s an amazing digital artist who will bring a whole new area of expertise to Publicious. Who is this person? Stay tuned!

OK, I have to go blow out these candles before the wax drips inside my keyboard.

XML Authoring Tools, part 4

XMAX JustSystems

XMAX (XMetaL for ActiveX), is an embeddable ActiveX component designed for developers to integrate into custom environments. It is not an out-of-the-box authoring tool.

Authoring Experience

Users work in a familiar word-processing interface, while the underlying XML is hidden. XMAX can be configured to display parts or all of document using interactive forms. Menus, dialog boxes, stylesheets, and even Enter key behavior are fully customizable. Continuous validation maintains structure. XMAX can offer change tracking, revision-marking workflow features. Users view revisions with color-coding, then accept or reject them.

Integration Bits

Thin-client XMAX-based components can be integrated with dynamic web publishing systems, content management systems, and other business applications. Typically deployed in Internet Explorer or custom purpose-built application.

System Requirements

Operating System: Windows XP or Windows Vista
Processor: Pentium® class 1 GHz or better recommended
Memory: 64 MB of available RAM (overall requirements depend upon hosting XMAX application)
Hard disk space: 60 MB hard disk space
Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher


XMAX can be customized with standard scripting languages and CSS.
Design Science has partnered with JustSystems to create the MathFlow Editor that installs into XMetaL Author or XMAX, and can be used as fixed or concurrent (floating) licenses.
No demo demo version

If it were a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor it would be…

Mint Chocolate Chunk

XMetaL Author JustSystems

XMetaL is the market-leading DITA-based authoring solution (though it can work with any schema or DTD). It is tightly integrated with Documentum and works with MathType.


There are three versions of XMetaL to consider:
XMetaL Author Enterprise
XMetaL Author for Enterprise Content Management (ECM)
XMetaL Author Enterprise for Documentum Webtop

XMetaL provides a range of interfaces to EMC Documentum, facilitating the creation and management of content.  User accounts can be integrated/synchronized with Documentum. Authors can create a new documents using existing content components from Documentum. Users can assign metadata properties to content objects stored in the Documentum CMS from within the authoring interface. XMetaL supports the preview of output on the desktop, including checked out/work-in-progress content, using embedded DITA Toolkit. Direct access to Documentum library services is available from within the authoring interface, including access control, full text and metadata search, versioning, and check in/out. Authors can drag and drop topic, content references, images and multimedia from the Documentum repository (displayed inside XMetaL’s interface) directly onto the editing window. Validation procedures and business rules can be applied upon a variety of interaction points with the Documentum Content Server.

System Requirements

XMetaL Author Enterprise:
Operating System: Windows XP or Windows Vista
Processor: Minimum Pentium class 1 GHz or better recommended
Memory: 1024 MB of available RAM
Hard disk space: Minimum 350 MB of disk space (800 MB recommended)
Explorer, version 6.00.2600.0000 +
XMetaL Author Enterprise for Documentum Webtop:
XMetaL Author Enterprise
Same system requirements as for ­XMetaL Author Enterprise. .
XMetaL Author for Documentum Web­top client installation
Same system requirements as Documentum Webtop – refer to your Documentum Webtop documentation.
Operating system: Windows 2000 Server SP4 or Windows 2003 Server
Documentum: Webtop 6.5 SP1 or Documentum: Webtop 6.0 SP1
Application server: Tomcat 5.5.x.x or 6.0.x.x
RDBMS: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 SP2


Design Science has partnered with JustSystems to create the MathFlow Editor that installs into XMetaL Author or XMAX, and can be used as fixed or concurrent (floating) licenses.
Demo version available for download.

If it were a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor it would be…

Mint Chocolate Cookie

Xopus Xopus B.V.

Xopus uses Javascript plus XSL to create a customizable WYSIWYG XML editor in a browser. It is customizable and is used by educational publishers, including one of the largest in the Netherlands to author study guides and QTI content.

Authoring Experience

The Xopus “Purpose Specific User Interface” is completely customizable and is tailored to structural rules dictated by the DTD or Schema. Context-sensitive editing they call “pre-validation.” prevents structural errors. Xopus supports rich-text paste from Word.

Integration Bits

Works with any CMS, DTD, or schema. There are out-of-the-box integrations available for many server side systems and protocols.
The Xopus authoring tool is embedded into the environment as the default XML editor. is the industry’s first “Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)” XML content management platform.

System Requirements

PC: Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista
Browser: Internet Explorer 6.0 and Firefox 2 supported


Xopus can render MathML output in browsers but it does not support editing in MathML. Math would have to be authored in another tool and brought into Xopus. Several flavors of Xopus are available in online demos.

If it were a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor it would be…

Imagine Whirled Peace

XML Authoring Tools, part 3

Serna Syntext

Serna Enterprise is a customizable, multi-platform, XSL-driven XML content editor.

Authoring Experience

Serna Enterprise provides authors with familiar word-processing features  (editing text and tables, cut and paste, multiple undo levels, spell checking, intuitive toolbars, etc) combined with XML efficiency features (drag-and-drop with on-the-fly validation, context-sensitive element help and insertion, metadata templates). The XSL-driven user interface can be customized for particular tasks or document types right from the user interface without the need for scripts. It offers dynamic rendering/output preview of multi-source documents with XSLT/XSL-FO stylesheets.
Strong support for DITA and DocBook. Basic MathML support. Uses document templates for automatic metadata and structure.

Integration Bits

Customizations can be made with Python scripting and C++ APIs for integration with CMS and publishing systems, and for implementation of database and repository access.  Integrated with publishing engines (Antenna House, RenderX, FOP).

System Requirements

Macintosh: OS X 10.4 or higher; G4 or higher
PC: Windows™ 2000/XP/Vista Processor: Pentium II, 350MHz or higher for i386
RAM: 512 MB
Minimum disk space: 150 MB


30-day trial version is available.
Pretty cheap: $109 US per license when purchased with maintenance. Both Mac and PC covered by one license.
If it were a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor it would be…

Peanut Butter Cup

PageSeeder Weborganic

PageSeeder is a comprehensive, web-based, collaborative platform. It does not exist as an independent ­XML authoring tool.

Authoring Experience

PageSeeder started 10 years ago as a document review and annotation tool (the “seeds” were small buttons to click to comment). Authoring capability was added later. A PageSeeder Group is a secure collection of documents and comments. Groups also have members of varying permissions, who can log on to the appropriate PageSeeder group and upload, create, or edit files. The Document Editing tools allow multiple versions of a document to be browsed, commented on, and edited, depending on the user’s access rights.


The full workflow allows document creation and revision, review and annotation, cross-referencing, assembly, validation, and conversion (to XML, PDF, RTF, HTML). It offers version management with track changes, and document variations. Multiple users can simultaneously work on a document without overwriting each other. PageSeeder also offers document status handling, access logging and status reports. It allows tasks to be initiated through a variety of manual or automatic means. Tasks are fully integrated with email and available through an API with configurable statuses.

Integration Bits

Documents can come from databases, file systems or 3rd party content management systems, and integrate with any XML processing application like Adobe InDesign (replacing InCopy), Quark Server, Adobe Flash, Apache FOP and Office.

System Requirements

Server Minimum Requirements: Windows NT/2000/XP Server or Linux/UNIX Server with JDK 1.6, 1 GHz Processor, 1GB RAM, 200MB Hard Disk Storage
One of the following databases: SQL Server 2000 or 2005, Oracle 11, MySQL 5
Client Minimum Requirements: ­Internet Explorer 7 or Firefox 2


Comes in hosted or install versions. Licensing is based on a per-project pricing model.
Unclear how you could do math with it.
Public demo is available on A 30-day evaluation, with a full running version of the software for a private group is available on request.

If it were a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor it would be…

Strawberry Kiwi Swirl

PowerXEditor Aptara

Developed as an in-house tool by Aptara for their copyediting business, and now sold as an application, PowerXEditor is a cross-platform and cross-browser authoring tool.

Authoring Experience

Authors experience Word-plus-XML in the browser, so there is almost no learning curve. User interface is customizable. Author files are normalized according to style rules. Provides conversion and mapping directly to a client-specified DTD (through customization). Authors are not exposed to XML, but most functions that would result in invalid XML are disallowed (adding a text box, limiting the copy-and-paste function to plain text).


After the content has been approved, it is published and the XML is only then validated. Minor anomalies are fixed in an automated process by the software. Aptara technicians intervene in the remaining cases where a rule cannot be resolved by the application, as part of the customer support services offered in the standard support package.
The workflow is configured by Aptara, with certain functions remaining configurable by the administrator. Other settings are controlled directly by the CMS PowerXEditor is hooked into.
Part of the Aptara PowerSuite along with other modules, PowerReview, PowerTrack, PowerProof, and PowerQA. PowerSuite offers version control of documents, and a customizable content workflow management system, with notifications and reports.

Integration Bits

PowerXEditor works both as a primary content development system and in combination with other information development tools. PowerXEditor feeds high-end composition from InDesign and Quark to LaTeX

System Requirements

Browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox


Built on a .NET framework with Ajax and Java.
No publicly-available demo version
Has a built-in Math Type Editor.

If it were a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor it would be…

Karamel Sutra

XML Authoring Tools, part 2

Authentic Altova

Available in both desktop and browser versions, Authentic is a free ­authoring tool. XML documents are created and edited in e-forms via a word processor-style interface, based on structured stylesheet designs.

Authoring Experience

Authentic users edit XML in a WYSIWYG word processor-style interface. Content is rendered in e-forms based on stylesheet designs created in Altova StyleVision. E-forms are designed to enable users to view content sequence and structure as it will appear in the target delivery format(s). The same stylesheets can be used to instantly render the content HTML, RTF, PDF, and Microsoft Word 2007 (OOXML). E-form presentation is dynamic, based on user input. Authors can input graphics, images, and hyperlinks as well as text. Windows for project management, messages, entry helpers, and additional information provide users with guidance during the authoring process.

Integration Bits

Desktop version supports project management, batch operations, version control systems. Scripting (JavaScript, VBScript) for forms, event ­handlers, & macros. Can be embedded in other applications as an ActiveX control or widget.

System Requirements

Desktop version requires Microsoft ­Windows (2000, XP, Vista). Browser version requires a plug-in for Internet Explorer.


I’m not sure how math content could be authored without an equation editor ­component. Perhaps in MathType, exported to MathML and pasted into Authentic?

If it were a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor it would be…

Cherry Garcia

Open Office OASIS

OpenOffice is free and open, works on Mac and PC. OpenDocument Text format (ODT) files would to be converted to/from your DTD through a customization of the XML Filter command.

Authoring Experience

Authoring would happen in the Writer word processing application. Templates would be created with styles corresponding to DTD tags. XSL stylesheets would be created for your desired outputs. Styles are then transformed to XML tags on export via the XML Filter command. This workflow is supported out of the box for DocBook.

Integration Bits

Would require 2 XSLTs to translate between your DTD and ODT (1 for import, 1 for export). Can transform to/from Word 2003 and DocBook out of the box. Some web applications e.g. Google Docs support ODT.

Technical Specifications

XML import is based on the SAX API.

System Requirements

Microsoft Windows: Windows 2000 (Service Pack 2 or higher), Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows Vista, 256 Mbytes RAM (512 MB RAM recommended), At least 650 Mbytes available disk space for a default install
Mac OS X: Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or higher, Intel Processor, 512 Mbytes RAM, 400 Mbytes available disk space
All platforms: Java runtime environment 1.4.0_02 / 1.4.1_01 or newer, Java Access Bridge.


The provided formula editor is pretty rudimentary. It offers no way to adjust formatting of equations.

If it were a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor it would be…

French Vanilla

<oXygen/> XML Author SyncroSoft

XML Author is a cross-platform, simplified version of the Oxygen XML Editor, which includes all the authoring, database access, and publishing features of the larger application.

Authoring Experience

The WYSWYG word processing interface uses CSS stylesheets for presenting XML to authors. The application window is highly customizable, with detachable, floating, rearrangeable toolbars and menus. An XML Preview Window can show the results of processing documents with XSLT. Other efficiency features include intelligent (XML Schema/DTD aware) content completion and configurable XML syntax coloring for elements and attributes. Users can edit, validate, and transform Office Open XML (OOXML) and Open Document Format (ODF) data.

Integration Bits

Access to document repositories can be made through WebDAV, FTP, SFTP. <oXygen/> supports access to native XML databases (MarkLogic, etc.) and relational databases (Oracle, IBM DB2). For accessing a content management system, the editor can be extended by writing a Java URL protocol handler.

System Requirements

Minimum hardware configuration is PowerPC G4 class system with 256 MB of RAM (512 MB recommended) and 300 MB free disk space.
An official and stable Java VM ­version 1.5 or later from Sun ­Microsystems
Macintosh: Mac OS X 10.4 or later
PC: Microsoft Windows application (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, 2003 Server).


Default templates are available for authoring MathML.
A 30-day demo version of Oxygen 10 is available.

If it were a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor it would be…

Phish Food

XML Authoring Tool Smackdown Week

Eric is on vacation this week, so Publicious is without its resident XML g-nee-us. So in his stead, I am going to devote the week to a look at a dozen XML authoring tools. I guess I could’ve called it “XML Idol”, but I have never watched that show, so there’s too high a fraud factor in the reference.

The tools fall into into three categories: stand-alone applications, browser-based tools, and Microsoft Word add-ons. Tuesday through Friday, I’ll pick three tools and write up what I know about the authoring experience, integration issues, technical specs, system requirements, and misc info.

Here’s the list:

eXtyles by Inera

XPress Author by Invision/ Quark

ArborText Editor by PTC

Authentic by Altova

OpenOffice by OASIS

Oxygen XML Author by SyncroSoft

Serna Enterprise by Syntext

PageSeeder by Weborganic

PowerXEditor by Aptara

XMAX by Just Systems

XMetaL Author by Just Systems

Xopus by Xopus B.V.

This is a non-zero-sum smackdown. At the end of the week, there won’t be a “winner,” each tool has its target audience, strengths, and weaknesses. As always, YMMV. My goal is just to lay them all out to help anyone who’s interested to get a feel for some of the options out there.