XMLMind is sucking

Alright, I’m working on a chapter for an upcoming title, and I enjoying the secrecy, so I’m not divulging the topic or anything, but it’s good fun….and, of course, I’m being totally irresponsible with my content and it is behind schedule. The only rule I’ve ever lived by is (as far as writing is concerned) it takes way longer than you could have ever imagined even when you acknowledge this upfront. Way longer. I usually tend to fault Wikipedia or Reddit, but in the case of this particular book, I’m going to have to point the finger squarely at XML Mind.

I’m using XML Mind to author some DocBook, and it’s just about as far from the natural writing process as I’d like to get before giving up the trade entirely. Right now I’m working on associating items in a calloutlist with co elements in a programlisting, and I’m wondering why the brain surgeons who maintain XML Mind having figured out an easier way to do it. Here’s the issue….

Every co element needs both a populated id and linkends attribute and then every referencing callout in the calloutlist needs a corresponding arearefs and id. So, I’m scurrying to manage all these id values which are not evident unless you click on the specific element in the document, squint at the context bar and then click on the name of the appropriate element. Time consuming, annoying, especially if you’ve used a modern word processor.

So, what’s the beef really? What’s the problem? The issue is that I wrote a previous book in Microsoft Word, and, honestly, it wasn’t that bad…. The only beef I had with the whole process was that the Visual Basic bruhaha that we were using to manage XRefs (references between chapters and sections) drove me to tears a few times…… Oh, that and the fact that the review process for the last book I worked on consisted of 20 people sending Word documents with comments and changes. (that will drive you crazy…)

XML Mind strikes me as a product that could be much more, maybe I hate it because I’m stuck using the version that predates the decision to charge for business use? Maybe XML Mind is difficult to use because it is implemented in Swing? I don’t know. But I do know that it isn’t making me enjoy the craft very much.