Home Forums General XMetaL Discussion XMetaL opens very slow with 2.61 MB File Reply To: XMetaL opens very slow with 2.61 MB File

Derek Read

Reply to: XMetaL opens very slow with 2.61 MB File

No, that is not normally the case. I am suggesting however, given the right schema (DTD or XSD) that it may perform sub-optimally if you have not properly designed a customization for your particular schema. It is impossible to know what the behavior might be unless we are provided with a copy of the schema in question. If a customization is auto-generated (which seems to be what has been done in your case) then it is very possible that the customization is sub-optimal because a human has not properly designed it. However, whether or not performance appears to be slow, it is always in your user's best interest to provide a properly-designed customization (designed by a human) for every DTD or XSD used with XMetaL.

In the extreme case, if you have unrecognized element and attribute names (such as , , versus recognized commonly used names such as

, , , , , , etc.) then the auto-customized CTM  and CSS files will not give your users a good editing experience. The auto-customization generator is tuned for elements that match names commonly used with very common DTDs, such as HTML, XHTML, DOCBOOK and similar.

In the worst case scenario you may have a customization auto-generated that does not recognize that an element should be treated as a paragraph or as an image or graphic element, or as a list, or a table, etc, or that an element is incorrectly displayed as block versus inline or whether whitespace is significant as in a

 (for HTML / XHTML) or  (DITA and similar) element. When this happens an element might incorrectly display using CSS display:block or display:inline or whitespace:pre settings or the CTM settings might not be set correctly. Either way, performance may suffer, but also the incorrect display settings simply might not be set so the author will see something they do not expect.

I have seen some US military DTDs where element names are very cryptic (names similar to which even a normal human cannot readily decipher without documentation) that our auto-gen code just assigns CSS "display:block" to and no other settings. You could easily correct the rendering by using XMetaL Developer (assuming you understand the schema yourself and have a preference for how the element should be rendered).

This auto-generation (of CSS and CTM files) is meant to be used as a last-ditch solution for authors who have not been given a proper customization from an XMetaL developer (someone that designs customizations) and is really just a best guess so the document author can at least edit their documents to some limited degree (perhaps in an inconvenient and less optimal fashion but in a way that still allows them to do something).

XMetaL Author is really meant to be properly customized on a per-DTD or per-XSD level so that you provide your authors with a nice editing experience, removing the complexity of needing to understand all the nuances of schema and XML rules that would be necessary for an author understand if they were using other authoring tools. The product is able to provide a fairly standard editing experience in some limited cases when no customization is provided (beyond the DTD or XSD file) but the real power of the product is the extensibility that it provides with its 1200+ APIs, CSS level 1 and 2 support for rendering, as well as the (XMetaL proprietary) CTM settings, XFT forms support, etc. These things can generally only be truly taken advantage of when you take the time to design a proper customization (which means reading the Programmer and Customization guides and implementing a complete solution for your particular schema and delivering these files to your authors in addition to simply providing the DTD or XSD).

Ultimately, it is expected that you provide a properly designed CSS and CTM file (and possibly other functionality provided by XFT, MCR and other files) with the DTD or XSD file your users are authoring to. This is no different from any of our competitors. The file types (file extensions) will be different but they require some kind of additional "customization" files to be provided for each DTD or XSD in order to provide users with an optimal editing experience.

For DITA authoring, XMetaL Author Enterprise includes such a customization out of the box. For any other document type you (as a customizer) are expected to provided such a solution for your end users for your particular DTD or Schema.

So, again, I would suggest that if you are unhappy with the performance of the customization you are currently using you should provide XMetaL Support with a copy so that they can look at it to see if there is anything they can suggest. If you have not specifically designed a CSS or CTM file then provide them with a copy of the XML and the DTD / XSD file so that they can have a look anyway. Perhaps the auto-generated CSS and/or CTM file can be improved. If not, then you might be looking at the very best possible performance you can expect from the product given your DTD or XSD and this paricular 2.61MB XML file.