What is Structured Writing?

This article is part 1 of 14 in the series Understanding and Mastering Structured Writing

The phrase “structured writing” seems to demand something in the way of definition, not because its meanings are obscure, but because they are so varied. This is a product of diversity of interests, not lack of definition. My definition is a declaration of my interests; no more.

The Three Domains of Content Structure

This article is part 2 of 14 in the series Understanding and Mastering Structured Writing

The process of creating and delivering content consists of translating ideas (stuff someone thinks or knows) into concrete physical form that can be read (dots of ink or pixel on a page or screen). The writing and publishing process is all about how we get from ideas in a head to dots on a page.

Structured Writing: Writing in the Media Domain

This article is part 3 of 14 in the series Understanding and Mastering Structured Writing

At its most basic, a hand guiding the pen over paper or chisel over stone is working in the media domain through handwritten-bitmapdirect physical interaction with the media. But this is not structured writing in the sense we mean it here. No computable structures are involved because no computer is involved.

Structured Writing: Writing in the Document Domain

This article is part 4 of 14 in the series Understanding and Mastering Structured Writing

The simplest reason for moving to the document domain is to enforce media domain constraints that are hard to enforce in the media domain itself. In fact, one of the consistent patterns in structured writing is moving to the next domain to enforce, or factor out, constraints in the previous domain.

Structured Writing: Backsliding into the Media Domain

This article is part 5 of 14 in the series Understanding and Mastering Structured Writing

Moving to the document domain can allow you to factor out many of your media domain constraints, creating greater consistency at less cost, as well as providing a range of automation and validation options for your content. But it is all too easy to authors to backslide into the media domain, undoing all of these benefits.

Structured Writing: Writing in the Subject Domain

This article is part 6 of 14 in the series Understanding and Mastering Structured Writing

You can write a recipe in the document domain. However, there are specific constraints on the format of a recipe that this approach neither follows nor records. If we want to create different document structures for different media, recording our content in the subject domain gives us that flexibility.

Structured Writing: The Intrusion of the Management Domain

This article is part 7 of 14 in the series Understanding and Mastering Structured Writing

The management domain intrudes on structured writing, because, while the subject, document, and media domains are all about recording the content itself, the management domain is not about the content, but about the process of managing it

Algorithms: Separating Content from Formatting

This article is part 9 of 14 in the series Understanding and Mastering Structured Writing

Human beings can execute algorithms. Indeed, computer programs often replace human beings as the performers of algorithms. This is one of the reasons we turn to structured writing, so that we can hand over the tedious and exacting algorithms of writing and publishing to machines.