XMetaL 1.0 - HTML with Style | 6
XMetaL includes a concept called "Rules." Rules files are essentially DTDs that are compiled into a proprietary, binary format. I am unsure of the usefullness of this. SoftQuad claims that rules files are faster than DTDs, but I've been using DTDs instead of rules and processing seems to be lightning-fast as rules are. SoftQuad also claims that rules can be used to "hide" the DTD and disallow editing of the DTD by users, but I'm not sure how this would work, as users can specify their own DTD at any time. DTDs can be compiled into rules files using the Rules Maker, a separate program.
XMetaL allows system administrators to provide alternative names for elements that are more human friendly. These names are displayed instead of the actual names in various places and allow users to understand what is going on without knowing the element names. For instance, after customization, the element name displayed below the document window can be changed (for an HTML document) from something like "HTML / BODY / DIV / H1 / EM" to "Document / Body / Section / Level 1 Heading / Emphasized Text", which can be more useful. Descriptions can also be given for attributes and elements that give users clues as to how to use them.
XMetaL includes support for tables, in that it allows certain element structures to be displayed and edited as tables in Normal and Tags On view. Unfortunately, XMetaL will only recognize the HTML table model and the CALS table model, so you cannot define your own elements as table elements - you can only use the the elements used by these table models.
XMetaL allows you to easily use ODBC access to insert a table containing data from any database into your document. It also allows you to use COM and the Windows Scripting Engine to extend XMetaL's functionality using any programming and scripting language. This means that administrators can, if they take the time, integrate XMetaL into any document management system by writing scripts or component that do things such as storing documents in a central repository, processing documents for things such as indexing and searching, printing documents through a DSSSL engine and so on.
Produced by Stephanos Piperoglou
Created: October 20, 1999
Revised: October 28, 1999