Hi all,

Thanks to everyone for your excellent suggestions for questions. Some of 
them weren't appropriate due to the nature of the documents (it's 
Defence data and they already have DTDs), and some are more general 
SGML/XML just to keep them on their toes. Overall though, I think it 
will give them a great running start. Thanks very much for your help.


1Q. "Can you explain the difference between standard FrameMaker and 
Structured FrameMaker?"

1A. An experienced user should be able to explain the differences, even 
though the difference is just a configuration setting in the same 
application. Standard FrameMaker is a word processor like Microsoft 
Word, whereas Structured FrameMaker is all that as well as being a 
platform to author and edit structured SGML and XML documents, requiring 
components that control what you can and can't do while creating a document.

2Q. What are some of the difficulties that you've encountered while 
creating structured applications?

2A. Things like defining the structural requirements (the DTD), creating 
the rest of the application, finding a need to change the structure, 
then having to catch up with the application. Another difficulty would 
be imposing a standardised structure on authors or contributors working 
in Word and not understanding why their data gets changed. Also, setting 
up for things like images, tables, or landscape pages.

3Q. Have them explain their experience in learning FrameMaker - did they 
do a course, learn it themselves, combination of both? Have they used 
other structured editing applications

3A. If they did a course, ask them what company provided the training - 
here in Australia, it could only be one of a handful. For other 
structured editors, they might claim ArborText, Interleaf or XMetal - 
experience with any of these would stand them in pretty good stead.

4Q. Where would they turn if they found themselves with a problem that 
they couldn't solve themselves with FrameMaker? Do they have a 
relationship with any companies that might provide them with support or 
other contacts? Do they read any of the FrameMaker user groups? If so, 
which ones?

4A. They'd be pretty brave to try to bluff this one. (There are only a 
handful of companies training and supporting in Australia.)

5Q. Are they willing to demonstrate their proficiency on a simple test 
document during the interview?

5A. Given a simple document, can they:
     - Add an element in a place not allowed?
     - Add an element in a legal place?
     - Change an attribute value?
     - Enter text
     - Validate the document?
     - Fix the error introduced in the first point and revalidate?

Ask them to explain as they go, so the non-technical panel has a better 
idea what they're looking at for the next applicant.

6Q. Have you built structured FrameMaker applications in the past, or 
just authored with them? If you've built them, roughly how many elements 
did the DTD contain?

6A. If they claim to have built applications but don't know what a DTD 
is, show them the door. If they don't know what an element is, show them 
the window.

7Q. Can you explain what a book is in FrameMaker, how it differs to a 
chapter and what general purpose it serves?

7A. A book is a container that manages multiple chapters, allowing 
numbering of pages, headings, paragraphs, tables, figures and anything 
else to be managed from a single point.

8Q. Can you explain the difference between SGML and XML?

8A. For a non-technical panel? Next to nothing, really. They use the 
same pointy brackets. If they tell you that XML is a more portable 
syntax by virtue of the fact that it's more self-contained, kiss them. 
Then hire them.

9Q. What other XML standards/recommendations are you familiar with?

9A. XSLT, XSL-FO, XPath, XSD, Schematron, RelaxNG, XQuery all score points.

10Q. Which popular published structures have you worked with in the past?

10A. ATA, Airbus, 5629A, DocBook, DITA, etc.


Marcus Carr                      email:  mcarr at allette.com.au
Allette Systems (Australia)      www:    http://www.allette.com.au
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
        - Einstein

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