Tag Soup – We’ve Tasted It.

Squaremoons have worked with a number of financial typesetting organisations across the globe. A common thread in their experience was finding it very difficult to create good quality data to flow into a composition technology stack. 

XML is the answer of course – how else would you be able to edit and structure Word documents, convert them into a well-formed XML file, and then flow into your typesetting software?

In the right environment, XML is certainly a great solution. But in the financial typesetting world..? We’d disagree.

XML or no XML?

The key question of course, is what is the ‘right’ environment for XML, or rather, what isn’t the right environment for XML?

Experience tells us that no matter how automated and structured a process is, human intervention inevitably comes into play: A curve-ball presents content that doesn’t fit and templates need adjusting for example. If you then have to then start editing in XML, the system then becomes a hinderance as operators don’t always understand it, and you need XML editing tools to make sure the content and tagging stays valid. And here is where ‘Tag Soup’ is created – a jumble of misaligned tags which somehow is expected to flow seamlessly into your typesetting software creating consistent and accurate electronic deliverables to meet time-critical deadlines with printers, clients and regulators too.

So is XML the right solution for financial typesetting? To this, we’d say ‘no’. It’s great, but not for this.

Is there something which is more simple to control, yet more robust in terms of validation and output options? Well of course we’re going to say ‘yes’.

So, if you like the taste of tag soup, fill your boots, but we’d like to offer a more exquisite alternative.