Having authored a number of papers, I've begun to run into the pain and agony of having to write while fighting with my chosen composition environment (that is, MSWord) and how to format things. For example, getting fonts and paragraph settings configured just the way I like them, standardizing on heading titles, and so on. I realize that I probably don't use the tool (again, MSWord) to a fraction of its complete capability, but I face a difficult choice: learn the tool in order to master it, and consume valuable time I could be writing, or simply live with the shortcomings of my ignorance and keep focused on the technologies I care about.

Fortunately, another solution presented itself in the form of a tool written by DevelopMentor for use in its internal projects. Conceptually, it's a simple idea--capture all content in XML, then render it into the medium desired (Word, PowerPoint, LaTEX, and so on) via tools. I was fortunate enough to be one of the early adopters, and was so enamored of the system that I immediately set out to see if I could replicate success by adopting something similar for my own use in writing papers.

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25 August 2013