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.