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Publishing faces a combination of diverse technological challenges: maintaining traditional channels while developing new ones; monetising the lists effectively; managing Intellectual Property without conflict; and simply trying to stay ahead of competitors and customers. XML and its partner technologies are at both the core and the leading edge of these developments.

This course identifies some of the techniques and applications that can be used. It provides a mix of presentations, case studies, and practical exercises to help publishers to leverage more of the intellectual resources in their domain.

The course is chaired by Faculty Board member Peter Flynn and taught by Faculty members Tony Gra­ham, Dr. Henry Thompson, Nor­m Walsh, and Sebastian Rahtz.

Classes for 2011

Introducing publishers to XML and XML to publishers: Why should I
change how I do business?

Taught by Dr. Henry Thompson

The rate at which delivery technology shapes the publishing business is, like so much else, accelerating: printing press to paper is over 500 years old, hot type to paper 125, cold type to paper 50, CD-ROMs about 20 and DVDs about 15. Most recently the Web, first to PC and now to e-readers, has completed the disintermediation of delivery. Not every publisher has to use these new delivery channels, but understanding them is necessary for making an informed decision, either way.

This session will introduce both the technology and the business case for the new channels. With the help of a case study of what has been involved for a real publisher who has recently made the transition, we’ll explore just what it means to bring XML into the publication life-cycle:

  1. What changes for authors and editors
  2. What changes in workflow
  3. What changes in software
  4. What changes in market and marketing

Document Management

Taught by Norm Walsh

Having XML documents, the raw materials of your publication process, is only part of the story. Modern publishing environments demand reuse and repurposing of content to maximize its value. That means you need not just XML, but also a vision for how it can be combined and transformed to deliver new products.

This session will explore some of the fundamental pieces of that vision including the ability to describe workflows that can combine and process content and the challenges and opportunities afforded by the promise of reusable documents.

We’ll go on to discuss some specific technical tools that you can use to manage and develop an effective workflow system. This will include a review of the role that schemas and validation play in assuring a correct production process as well as introduce some possibly new tools including XML pipelines.

Word-processing and ebook formats

Taught by Sebastian Rahtz

Many people manage documents in structured XML and produce formatted web pages or print using some kind of transformation. This session will concentrate on some of the less well-understood targets for formatted output (and sometimes input), the word-processor and ebook formats.

Both OpenOffice and Microsoft Word document formats are zipped bundles of fairly complex XML files, using schemas documented and published as ISO standards. It is possible to both read and write these files using normal XML processing tools and a little extra management.

The ePub format used in eg Apple’s iBooks is also a zipped bundle of XML files, consisting of HTML documents, images, styles, and metadata files. There are rigid constraints on the HTML which is accepted, and generating ePub is slightly more complex than making web pages.

In this session we will look at the packaging formats for Word, Open Office and ePub, and the details of the XML files inside them. We will consider some of the techniques for converting between the office document formats and more semantic XML using standard XML tools (eg XSLT).

XSLT and XSL FO toolbox of tips and tricks

Taught by Tony Graham

XSLT was designed to transform XML into other formats, and its original purpose was to transform XML into the XSL FO vocabulary for formatting as pages.

Producing pages is still close to the heart of many publishers, but we also use XSLT to transform XML into other XML vocubularies, into HTML, and into other non-XML formats.

This session provides sample techniques for using XSLT and XSL FO in publishing. We encourage attendees to put forward their pain points with using XSLT and/or XSL FO, either in the session or beforehand on the LinkedIn group discussion, and we’ll add them to the mix as we look at solving the XSLT and XSL FO problems that matter most to people.