I'd like Jean to expand a little more on the division between the document design and structure - he mentioned it a little, but I think there's more exploration that needs to be done for XML to reach its potential.
In my experience in web dev, the biggest problem with creating a library of structured documents is the quality of output from the content creators, who are usually non-technical. You can get them to fill in fields, drop downs, and text boxes, so I understand
how apps such as access forms and excel spreadsheets lend themselves to xml data. However, a word doc situation is different. As soon as you give them an opportunity to format text with fonts, colors, etc, any standard structure seems to fly out the window.
Have you noticed how a lot of office workers use word like it's a dtp app? How do you get these users to give up formatting, and just enter source?? You can create as many templates as you like, but if you force them to use one, chances are they'll be back
asking you if you could just add a way they can add 24 point blinking red verdana type to your carefully designed, subtle blue and black template.
I understand why the content creators think like this. For years, they were given free reign to design however they wanted in these very powerful apps, such as Word, and now we are asking them to stop and think about the data. How do we change their mindsets?
Oh, and the 24 point blinking red verdana text thing was a true story. That Marketing Manager nearly put me into therapy.