xmlroff has moved

xmlroff development has moved to a Trac and Subversion at http://xmlroff.org/. The xmlroff-list mailing list has also moved. Hosting for xmlroff.org is kindly provided by Patric Stout of the ISeeR web hosting and IT service company in the Netherlands.

The new arrangement makes it easier for everybody (not just me) to update the xmlroff website, and it makes it extremely easy to link between the website, the tickets (i.e., bug reports and feature requests, etc.), and both the source code and the change logs in the Subversion repository. I am already using the Trac tickets more than I ever used SourceForge tracker items.

Goldratt’s “Student Syndrome”

While reading Steve McConnell’s Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art (ISBN 0-7356-0535-1, and excellent, BTW), I found a reference to the magnificently named “Goldratt’s ‘Student Syndrome'”, characterised in the book as:

If developers are given too much time, they’ll procrastinate until late in the project, at which point they’ll rush to complete their work, and they probably won’t finish the work on time.

It’s almost worth not finding out more about it just so I can invent my own inaccuracies. You can imagine the cooperative response of a teacher the first time the following note is received:

Please do not penalise Johnny for late submission of his assignment. He was unable to finish on time as he suffers from Goldratt’s Syndrome.

It might almost work, once. It obviously wouldn’t work if the rest of the class who also evince the syndrome tried their luck the same way.

(And if you do want to find out more, there’s Wikipedia and Google.)

…a linear syntax for unranked, ordered and labeled trees.

It’s often interesting to see people’s sound-bite definitions of XML. The following, from Section 2.2 of the Static Validation of XSLT Master’s thesis by Mads Kristian Østerby Olesen, isn’t as forthright as Richard Gabriel’s but is interesting for assuming that you know about trees (in the computer sense) even if you don’t know XML:

XML is just a linear syntax for unranked, ordered and labeled trees.

Book Design

I both enjoyed reading Andrew Haslam’s Book Design (ISBN 1-85669673-9) and found it useful. And I dare say that Andrew Haslam must have enjoyed making it, particularly the sections demonstrating paragraph styles and text alignment styles.

I like Book Design because it covers a lot of ground and covers it well. It provides more narrative and examples than, say, Pocket Pal from International Paper but more practical details than, say, Richard Hendel’s On Book Design (ISBN 0-300-07570-7) and covers more of the book than does the type of typography book that I more often read.