> While we all know that these brilliant guys have to earn their bread somehow, and so can't just spread freebies around, I wonder how realistic it would be to put together a list of features for a dumbed-down teaching version of oXygen. I am somewhat afraid that it's not too realistic, because course profiles naturally vary depending on the exact content and the level of the audience, and maintaining a new version might incur new costs.
I was thinking along the same lines, actually… and having your same reluctancies (great minds…).
> Still, I spent a while writing and rewriting the previous sentence, and cutting some parts of it, exactly because I can imagine counterarguments to what I say above. Maybe it would be worth our while to *try* to put together a list of features that we'd like to have in such an editor, just to see if we could agree on a single set of such features -- because if not, then we already could see why there's no point in asking George and Co. for that.
I have actually already discussed things a bit with George. I have been teaching XML and TEI for about 15 years now (yes, I’m that old) and when you teach to absolute beginners what is an element and why the TEI is such a good idea, it is hard to ask them to commit to buy an editor because they do not yet know if they going to like working with the TEI or not. Furthermore, a 30 days trials is not enough: before putting int $100, people would like to make sure that that will constitute a good return. In my discussion with George, he seemed partial to the idea that if someone is organising a TEI-flavoured training and is a TEI member, they could be able to offer a 2/3 months trial, which is incredibly generous of theirs, and I think it could solve some of our issues, but not all, not mine anyway.
My problem, and Roberto's I think, is that we are talking about courses within a university degree that on the one hand tend to last longer than 30 days (or 60 days) and on the other, in case of newly established realities or tight budgets, they require us to convince our administrators that to pay $1k for a class or a site licence is a good investment, which in many cases is not the easiest thing to do.
> And if we _could_ agree on a single feature set, then the ball would move into the hands of Syncro Soft profilers, and they would simply have to check if they see reasonable benefit there. After all, the benefit would come not only from selling the teaching licenses but also from the fact that students would use oXygen during their training, and that is something that some might choose not to ignore in their long-range calculations. Lots of question marks there, but an agreed feature set comes first, as a precondition to further speculations or calculations. And Elena has just given us a seed for such a feature set.
In my experience of teaching, the features I absolutely need are:
- validation with Relax NG
- contextual suggestions
- XSLT 2 transformation
- easy to use
- xPath query
- Inline documentation (i.e. the little pop-ups with the definition of the element)
- pre-set templates
All other features are, in my opinion, for people that ha decided that the TEI is a good thing and wants that for their work. In these case, I think expecting them to buy the software is reasonable. I like to remember how oXygen was the first software I ever bought with my own money.