What is XML Web Authoring?


XML is a standardised markup language commonly used by technical writers to create structured content. XML is also super handy when it comes to automating time-consuming tasks and processes—like pagination—in publishing. If you’re new to XML, keep reading to learn what XML and DITA are, and the benefits of XML web authoring.

Flat vector illustration of speech bubbles with legs. Each speech bubble contains a different symbol including the Typefi logo, a blue lowercase w, a squiggle, ampersand and a symbol for xml.

What is XML?

XML stands for “Extensible Markup Language.” It’s a type of markup language that is used to structure and organise data (content) in a way that is both human- and machine-readable.

In XML, tags are used to label content for what it is, not what it should look like. For example, data may be labelled as headings, paragraphs, or tables, but the XML tags won’t define the styling of those headings. XML provides a standardised way of representing data, so organising and sharing it between different systems and applications is super easy. And while XML might sound a bit complicated, there’s a high chance you’ve already worked with it.

The DOCX file format of Microsoft Word documents is a “Document Open XML” file, which offers better compatibility with other software apps. The standardisation, flexibility, extensibility, and support for automation make XML a smart choice for automating time-consuming tasks and processes—like laying out pages—using intelligent automation tools such as Typefi.

What is DITA?

DITA stands for “Darwin Information Typing Architecture”. It is an XML-based open standard for authoring, organising, and publishing technical documentation.

Technical writers love DITA as it provides a standardised way of structuring technical documentation into smaller, reusable content “chunks”. Each chunk represents a discrete piece of information, such as a procedure, concept, or reference, that can be combined and reused to create different types of documents, such as user manuals, training materials, and online help systems.

Several Typefi customers use DITA as part of their automated publishing workflows. Learn more about how educational publisher Kaplan leverages DITA and a CCMS along with Typefi in this video interview.

What are the benefits of editing XML online?

With online XML web authoring, you use a web-based tool to create, edit, and manipulate XML documents directly in a web browser. It’s a convenient way of working—particularly for remote teams—and gives your team an easy and flexible way to work with XML documents. Other online benefits include:

  • Convenience: The fact that online XML editors can be accessed from any device with an internet connection, makes it incredibly easy to work on XML documents from different locations or devices—perfect for remote teams and for collaboration purposes.
  • Low maintenance: Online XML editors are typically cloud-based, so most require minimal installation, setup, or maintenance as much of that is automatically updated by the provider. This means that you always have access to the latest features and security updates without having to manually update the software, all saving you time and resources!
  • Collaboration: Online XML editors, such as Fonto Editor and Oxygen XML Web Author, offer collaboration features, such as real-time editing, commenting, and version control, which can make it easier to work on XML documents with others.

Does Typefi support XML web authoring?

Yes! With the release of Typefi Server 8.10, Typefi also has two web-based DITA XML authoring integrations available. These web authoring solutions are from existing Typefi partners, Fonto and Syncro Soft:

  • Fonto’s online XML Editor—Fonto Editor—is designed for people with no knowledge of XML or any other technology that comes with structured content authoring. If you’re completely new to XML, this is a great path forward.
  • Syncro Soft’s Oxygen XML Web Author solution offers advanced editing features and countless possibilities for customising a user’s XML experience. The customisation capability tends to be better suited to those who have used Oxygen XML Author before.

Want to integrate XML web authoring into your Typefi workflows? Contact us today.

Learn more about XML web authoring and Typefi

  • Watch our demo to see the Typefi XML web authoring solutions in action
  • Check out the Typefi XML web authoring section under Typefi Server in our Help Centre
  • To learn more about XML and stay up-to-date with the latest XML trends and technologies, check out the W3Schools XML Tutorial—a comprehensive online tutorial that covers the basics of XML, including syntax, elements, attributes, and validation.