Structured writing, structured search

From a user's point of view, XPath query strings are pretty darned geeky. I'm hopeless with them myself unless I have examples in front of me. I find that having a list of examples available in the context of my own live data, and synchronizing it to an input box in which examples can be modified, leads me to discover and record more useful patterns. A subtler thing happens too. As you're writing the XHTML, the search possibilities begin to guide your choices. [Full story at O'Reilly Network]
I always think that my latest invention is the coolest one ever, so you should take this with a grain of salt, but I can't stop thinking about the implications of this one. First, because of the cross-browser, cross-OS angle introduced by Mozilla. Second, because it strikes me that XPath really could be packaged up for use by civilians (i.e., non-geeks). Third, because the availability of structured search -- during the writing process -- can have a profound effect on how (and why) we structure what we write.

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