My favourite conference by far is the ATA… and not just because the location changes every year and it’s always somewhere fantastic! This year was in Miami and the location was no exception… a great choice and huge numbers of translators interested in translation technology and how they can get more from it. My own involvement at these conferences is always very satisfying because I get to spend the full conference speaking to people, from the moment the doors open until they close, about technology. This year kept me particularly busy with two pre-conference sessions, mostly on Studio and MultiTerm; the “Toolbar” which is open all conference and is an area manned by technical representatives from all the tools vendors present; and a conference presentation I’ve wanted to deliver for a long time. This article is about that presentation, “XML, XPath, XSLT… the ‘X’ Files?”
When the developer of the Word Cloud plugin for SDL Trados Studio first showed me the application he developed I was pretty impressed… mainly because it just looked so cool, but also because I could think of a couple of useful applications for it.
- You could see at a glance what the content of the project was and how interesting it might be for you
- It looks cool… or did I say that already?
… because the head is listening!
In my last article I wrote about the FIT XXth World Congress in Berlin hosted by the BDÜ, and the idea they had of attempting to elicit questions prior to the event through their Conference Bulletin Board. This was a really great idea because it gives the tool vendors the opportunity to focus their presentations and workshops on the things users really want to know about.
There can be nothing worse, for an experienced user, than turning up to an hours presentation and listening to the same presentation on how to do the basics with a translation tool that you hear every time you make the effort to improve your knowledge.
So the idea of raising questions from people who wish to attend prior to the event is a really good one because not only does it mean the content should be more relevant to the things users really want to know, but it also gives the vendor time to prepare for any really tricky questions that might otherwise have to be taken off line. So I thought I’d use this article to do two things.
- Shamelessly promote a couple of conferences I’m attending this year where there are opportunities to ask questions
- Get some questions!!
My son asked me how my day had gone and before I could answer he said in a slightly mocking tone “blah blah blah… XML… blah… XML … blah blah”. Clearly I spend too much time outside of work talking about work, and clearly his perception of what I do is tainted towards the more technical aspects I like the most! Aside from the note to self “stop talking about this stuff after I leave the office!” it got me thinking about why I probably think about XML as much as I apparently do and how I could help others avoid the very same compulsion! I’ve written articles in the past about how to use regular expressions in Studio, and an article on using XPath, and I’ve probably touched on handling XML files from time to time in various articles. But I don’t think I’ve ever explained how to create an XML filetype in the first place, or why you would want to… after all Studio has default filetypes for XML and this is just another filetype that the CAT tool should be able to handle… right?
This week I spent some time in Stockholm attending one of the SDL Roadshows. As usual it was a great event, and we have more to come. In fact this year I get to attend a fair few so if you’re attending Copenhagen, Milan or Paris in May then I’ll look forward to seeing you there!
But I’m not writing about the roadshows. I also enjoyed a day before the roadshow with some of our very technical customers in a small workshop and as usual they had lots of interesting questions to tax our software and my brain! But this time I had reinforcements in the shape of Iulia who is a QA Engineer from our Cluj office. The team in Cluj never cease to amaze me with their dedication to making the products better and in supporting our customers, in addition to their knowledge of our products. But the reason I want to mention Iulia in particular is because these technical sessions always involve questions around how we handle XML in Studio. This time was no exception and one question in particular had me dreaming up all kinds of workarounds… they were interesting I think, but unnecessary because Studio has some clever features here I’d never looked at before, but Iulia had. Of course I don’t know why I’d expect anything less from a team that QA our products, but I thought it would be good to share.
Now that we’ve learned enough about regular expressions, and because I get so many requests for custom filetypes I thought it might be useful to take a dip into the world of XPath. So what exactly is XPath?
Well as far as most CAT tools go it probably is something completely different… certainly it was not used in the old Trados days. But as a tool it’s nothing new and is simply a language used to find parts of an XML document and what’s more it’s a language that is recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium W3C. So there is nothing proprietary here.