Literature Summary: The agile upside of XML, by Jenn Webb

Link: http://toc.oreilly.com/2011/10/xml-publisher-workflow-ebook-design.html

This article is a transcript of an interview of Annah von Veh and Mike McNamara, focusing on using XML for publishing.  Topics discussed include the flexibility and reusability of XML, and how it can be beneficial to certain publishing tasks where automation may be necessary and can help the publishing process along.  Integrating XML into existing workflows is also discussed, and there’s also talk of how likely it is for XML to survive into the future.  (Considering XML’s history, I personally don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon!)

The most interesting part of the article came last: the discussion of where the interviewees saw the digital publishing world in 5 years.  Considering the article was written in 2011, it’s interesting to see where things are now in comparison to where the interviewees thought things would be.  There was some discussion by Anna von Veh about “printing on demand”, where people could theoretically have an e-book printed on demand and available in a physical method if they want it – I personally see that as a more novel idea, and not necessarily something that would catch on and become widely popular.  People are more and more wrapped up in their devices, and buying print media less and less.  IT Training stopped offering print materials at workshops a few years ago, and most people tend to use the secondary monitor available in the classroom or load the PDF of the materials on their own device.  I very rarely see people with printed copies of the materials in the workshops that I teach – showing that people are becoming more comfortable with digital formats, as opposed to finding those digital formats and making physical versions of them for easier consumption.

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