XML Authoring

XML authoring, structured authoring, intelligent content authoring. All three refer to the same thing: A different way to create content than with word processing and desktop publishing applications that produce unstructured content.

Organizations are adopting XML authoring in increasing numbers as the basis for content automation, in turn leading to reduced costs, better content quality, faster speed to market, and improved compliance.

Did You Know?
XML contains extra, hidden information embedded within it — usually called “metadata” — that helps other applications automatically manipulate the content. It’s one of the reasons it’s often referred to as smart content or intelligent content.

Why XML Authoring?

Unstructured authoring — the basis for word processing and desktop publishing software — no longer meets the needs of today’s businesses. Organizations are being pushed to produce more business-critical content that costs less, has more consistency, and is personalized for the audience and the channel — whether it be output to print, the Web or mobile devices.

The problem with traditional word processing and desktop publishing software is that authors spend valuable time formatting their content, a process that is then repeated in the design stage for each type of media e.g. mobile, Web, and print. In addition, reusing information means copying and pasting, which creates redundant copies that must be reviewed, translated and updated separately, for as long as the information lives. These inefficiencies lead to problems in the accuracy, convenience, and appearance of content because there's too much manual work and too much room for error.

XML Authoring Capabilities

To overcome the inefficiencies of unstructured authoring, XML authoring offers several crucial capabilities.

Separation of Content and Formatting:
Instead of differentiating document elements using formatting (e.g., making a title larger than a subhead), the writer differentiates by identifying its purpose. For example, the writer would mark a title as a <title>, and not as 24 pt Arial Bold.

Content Automation:
Content automation enables the right content to reach the right customers, partners and employees at the right time and right place in a device appropriate format. It does this by automating every stage of the content lifecycle and is only made possible when the content lifecycle begins with authors creating structured content.

Automated Publishing:
Because XML documents contain no formatting information, a publishing system can separately apply formatting in an automated process. For example, the system could format a <title> as 24 pt Arial Bold in print and as 12 pt Verdana on a mobile phone. This relieves authors and designers from manual formatting and design, a labor-intensive task that takes one-third to one-half of their time.

Omni-Channel Publishing:
You can automatically publish to multiple types of media including print, Web, smartphones and tablets. This eliminates the need for a different group to build each additional media type by hand — an expensive, error-prone, and time-consuming process.

Reusable Components:
XML lets writers break up their documents into reusable components. Instead of copying and pasting content, an author can reuse a component by pointing to it. If the original component changes, any document that uses it can be automatically updated to the latest version of the component's information. This increases the accuracy and consistency of information.

Because XML enables documents to be broken up into components, you can set up automatic assembly of those components to produce personalized publications based on the needs of each audience, increasing customer and employee satisfaction.

XML Authoring from Quark

Quark develops two different software options for XML authoring depending on the customer requirements and authoring preferences. In all cases, Quark’s XML authoring tools are the foundation for content automation solutions to streamline content processes, achieve greater information consistency and drive improved business results.

Quark Author is Web-based software built specifically to enable content creators to author XML content, but in a familiar word processor-like environment that hides the XML behind the scenes. Through this user-friendly environment, authors create reusable Smart Content components that are managed within Quark Publishing Platform.

Quark XML Author for Microsoft Word is a plug-in that lets anyone create structured XML content using Microsoft Word. Designed for quick learning and easy operation, Quark XML Author works within Word, so you can deploy it across the organization and reap the efficiencies and improvements of XML for all types of documents in all departments.