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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.

Teachers in this course include Faculty members Jo Rabin, Norm Walsh, Sebastian Rahtz, and Tony Graham, as well as Faculty Board member Peter Flynn.

Classes for 2012

XML and Publishing Workflows

Taught by Tony Graham

Some formats are better or worse than others for capturing and/or
representing the information for publishing purposes. Can you create
and manage life-cycle workflows which rationalise or regularise mixes
of formats using XSLT and other XML toolsets? Should XML be the
beginning of your publishing workflow, the hub format in the middle,
the result, or all three? How can XSLT and related tools be used to
cover up the deficiencies or excesses of the source XML? What are the
arguments for moving authors towards submitting in XML (or not)? For
moving editors?

Incorporating both live examples and war stories, Tony Graham will
lead an examination of XML in publishing workflows, the advantages
and disadvantages of using XML at each stage, and some of the tools
and techniques available to you.

Epubs and Wordprocessors

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 Apples 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).

Mobile First

Taught by Jo Rabin and Peter Flynn

Use of handheld devices (tablets, phones, and eReaders) already exceeds desktop use in many markets, and users expect material to be in a form they can read across a wide range of devices. What does it take to be ready for this device diversity, and what will we have tomorrow?
Sensible mobile strategy demands major flexibility at the back end, so
what does this mean to publishers without presentation-neutral content?

Come back, Caxton, all is not yet lost — Does a move away from the print medium mean abandoning traditional publishing standards? Does the
electronic medium really mean lower standards or should this be an area
of competitive advantage?

If one standard is good, then must many be better? — How should
publishers choose between formats and can we characterise formats as
good, bad or ugly? In this interactive workshop session we look at what
are the desirable characteristics of publishing formats and how to
critique them both from a technology and a commercial standpoint.

Agenda for change — Publishing is changing fast and has already changed beyond recognition from only a few years ago. Technology is leading this, so what are technologists’ responsibilities in informing company direction and how can they be effective in making their points? Another interactive workshop session about how to move things forward purposefully.

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.