This topic describes the best practices that influenced the developement of Tópico.
Topic oriented authoring
We're now well into the internet age and the book metaphor no longer cuts it for most of our publishing needs, even at the personal level. The topic approach (as promoted by the IBM/OASIS DITA architecture) has proven to be much more flexible and better suited to address these new publishing challenges, where our beloved desktop publishing is no longer suited for the task.
While the flexibility typically comes with a higher price tag and even with the latest bread of user friendly xml editors (XMetal, Epic, Serna, ...) and better/cheaper CMS; implementing a full validating, scalable, xml publishing system is still out of reach for a high number of small companies and probably overkill for most individuals.
Tópico is based on the belief that the same concepts and standards ought be leveraged in smaller (easy to install and use) applications and available on every desktop so individuals can also benefit from the high quality and easier maintenance publishing workflow these standards make possible?
Standard based web publishing
There are so many standards being cooked up at the W3C (and many more places around the globe) that the landscape might look to you like a big bowl of alphabet soup. Why all these standards? How do all these standards fit together? Why should you care?
You should care because it can make your web site:
- easier to design
- easier to maintain
- easier to update
- more professional
- more accessible
- more usable
Why can't you just use Notepad or your favorite HTML editor to create and edit your web site? Actually you could, but why do all this work yourself? Although HTML is readable and can be written manually by almost anybody, it was not necessarely meant to be (ultimately) edited by hand.
Publishing your web site through a standard based workflow is probably the best investment you can make because it inceases your chances of higher quality, usability and easier maintenance for your publication.
Many tools are currently available to make standard based publishing and sementic markup a reality for end users but integrating those tools and technologies into simple and useful solutions is still quite a challenge. Tópico is one (hopefully simple) solution.
While the move from desktop publishing to HTML brought the fact that authors should be no longer encouraged to decorate "pretty printed" pages (like they've been doing for the last 20 years), the move from HTML to XHTML does the same for web pages (that we've been painting for the last 10 years).
Semantic markup is the way of the future and XHTML 1.1 emphasizes this transition even more. Along with the transformation mechanisms provided by the XSLT standard, it represents the best investment anyone can make into their document collections.
Learn more about semantic markup.
The only scripting you'll find in Tópico publications is some inline code written by the XStandard Editor and references to external scripts that handle things like the menu. Separating functionality from content is also one of the web standards' goals.