[uf-discuss] book brainstorming

Håkon Wium Lie howcome at opera.com
Mon Jan 30 15:59:43 PST 2006

Mark Pilgrim wrote:

 > Not sure where this gets us, except to say that Word is really leading
 > edge stuff for publishers at the moment, and anything-but-Word is so
 > bleeding edge for publishers that I'm skeptical that it's even worth
 > spending any time on it. 

Thanks for an interesting description of your experiences. I agree
that most publishers are stuck in a WYSIWYIG-Word-Frame-Quark world
and aren't quite ready for a markup-based production line yet. But I
also believe this will change.

First, there are strong gravitational forces towards the web.
Publishers will be forced to offer their goods on the web, and much
content is being authored with the web in mind. Think blogs. Bound.

Second, there is a cost to standarizing your archives on a particular
version of Quark. You require all your suppliers to have that version.
(And the production of books is increasinly outsourced to suppliers.)
And when that version is no longer available to purchase, you're

The challenge, I believe, is not to move people towards markup. That
will happen by itself, sooner or later. The challenge is to make
people use the right kind of markup once they get there. There's
plenty of people who are ready to sell expensive XMLbased content
management systems with tailor-made XSLT style sheets -- finely
tailored to spit out font tags.

One recent example: Norway is celebrating our greatest poet this year,
Henrik Ibsen. Millions have been poured into researching his texts and
marking them up in TEI. This makes some sense. However, the texts are
not available on the web. When questioned, the researchers said they
needed more millions to develop a "web edition". 

With some difficutlies, I was able to re-generate the semantics of the
TEI markup from the "web edition" tag soup so that I could publish
semantically rich HTML. Also, I can generate beautiful PDF documents
from the same files. You can see the results here [1]. Doing this
gives me the same wow-like experience I had when seeing HTML for the
first time in 1992. I think the case for simple HTML-based formats --
microformats! -- is too good to ignore, even by an industry currently
stuck in a WYSIWYG tar pit.

[1] http://people.opera.com/howcome/2006/ibsen

              Håkon Wium Lie                          CTO °þe®ª
howcome at opera.com                  http://people.opera.com/howcome

More information about the microformats-discuss mailing list