A discussion started elsewhere on whether or not formatting should be done inside the EDD. I think that discussion should be held here, as there will be more people who have experience with this on this forum than on the other non-public discussion site. Of course most of the participants in the discussion on the closed forum are on this forum as, well, so we can maybe continue our discussion with a larger group.
On this particular topic, there seem to be two completely opposite views, and I would like to hear from people on this forum what they feel about this.
On one side are those who state that formatting should be done completely in the EDD, as this takes the ability to mess up the formatting away from authors - who should not have any control over formatting as they should just deliver content. If formatting is put in their hands the compatibility with existing standards or earlier revision processes would be breached. One message mentioned an 'enforcable controllable environment' as the goal of working with structured Frame in the first place - if I am getting that point correctly (and of not, there will be reactions from the ones on this forum who belong to that camp).
The other side (which, according to the impression given on the non-public site, is a rare minitory viewpoint) is taking ALL formatting out of the EDD and allowing clients to do their own paragraph and character designer based formatting without having to edit the EDD. In this case, the client is not dependent on the person who created the EDD to change the font, text alignment, hyphenation etc. The EDD assigns paragraph format tags and the client can - if they want to - change those paragraph formats to suit their needs. I am a strong advocate of this position and have been using this strategy for my clients with a lot of success.
I do want to answer to the comments about control, just to clarify that the choice between formatting inside or outside the EDD is not the same as a choice between keeping full control or having no control whatsoever. Control or no control is another matter, in my opinion. I can easily see methods to make the paragraph and character designer unavailable in Frame for those who have no authority to make any changes to the company's style sheerts. This would leave those who are in control of the styling the option to define or redefine paragraph and character styles without having to bring in the expensive consultant who created the EDD for them. Changes to the EDD would for example be required to support another font for a Bulgarian translation.
Frankly, I do not want to make my clients dependent on my services just to change the font to Arial CYR if they happen to sell a machine to Bulgaria. Also, I don't want to build full support for all the formatting quirks my customers might ever need into an EDD that will become an almost unmanageable beast (and require expensive consultants to make any changes that do not bring the system to a screaching halt). My customers can create different templates, using different sets of fonts, paragraph formats, character formats and table formats, without ever changing the underlying structure that is defined by the EDD. It is their responsibility to define the look and feel of their documents, and it is mine to make sure the structure is correct. They pay me to build a structured authoring system, not to define their style guide. And if they do want me to create their style guide as well, I will create a template that contains all the required paragraph, character and table formats separate from the EDD. To ensure that their authors cannot mess around with the formatting I will even give them a little script that makes the designer pods go away and stay away. Plenty control, but not at the cost of putting the formatting in the EDD - where I do not think it belongs in the first place.
OK - that was my first round. Let's hear it from the others on this forum...
Kind regards from drizzly Amsterdam