In our previous blog post, we delved into an overview of XML markup languages, aiming to steer the aviation industry toward enhanced technical information management.
However, in an industry characterised by perpetual change, where the omission of crucial updates can have life-threatening consequences, mere awareness of change proves insufficient. What is imperative is not only the ability to discern when changes occur but also the proficiency to articulate those changes in a manner that facilitates informed decision-making.
XML changes in evolving aviation standards
Examining changes in XML standards is a vital task for aviation professionals, given the industry’s emphasis on precision and compliance. The constant evolution of technology and regulation necessitates a thorough inspection of XML standards.
Aviation experts are required to diligently review XML standards during the integration of new equipment, implementation of software updates, or adaptation to regulatory changes. This proactive approach is crucial for identifying potential issues in advance, minimising risks, and preserving the integrity of technical information systems. The ability to proficiently assess changes within XML standards not only facilitates compliance but also empowers aviation professionals to stay ahead of the curve, contributing to the development of a resilient and future-ready industry framework.
XML-driven aviation documentation
Analysing changes within aircraft manuals is a crucial task in the aviation industry. These manuals evolve to incorporate technological advancements, safety protocols, aircraft modifications, and regulatory updates.
The ability to identify these changes is vital for maintaining accuracy, adhering to industry standards, and ensuring that aviation personnel access the most current and relevant information. Leveraging technology to automate the identification of changes in XML-based aircraft manuals not only simplifies the updating process but also improves the efficiency and reliability of technical documentation. This, in turn, contributes to the safety and operational excellence of the aviation ecosystem.
Change tracking in XML documents
Poor change tracking
The MIL-STD-40051 standard from the U.S. Department of Defense lays down the law on technical content, mandatory style, and the nitty-gritty of preparing Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals (IETMs). It’s the go-to guide for subsequent revisions, ensuring these manuals support all kinds of gear and weapon systems in the Department of the Army and the Department of the Marine Corps.
For something of such gravity, it should be crystal clear what has changed from version to version. Yet, the first few pages hit you with a laundry list of modifications—lines and lines detailing what has been altered, deleted, or added. To truly decipher these tweaks, you’re left with the substantial task of page-flipping, trying to piece together what was there before and make sense of the shift. It’s a bit like solving a puzzle blindfolded, especially if you’re missing the previous edition.
Department Of Defense Standard Practice Preparation Of Digital Technical Information For Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals (IETMS) pg. 3, a list of changes present
Redline reports representing change in XML
While not directly aviation-centric, an organisation that truly grasps the significance of highlighting modifications is none other than the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Boasting a repertoire of over 25,000 international standards spanning the realms of technology, management, and manufacturing, it’s safe to say they’ve weathered their fair share of changes over the years. Their secret sauce? Redline reports that meticulously unveil alterations, showcasing where content has been added, deleted, or modified in successive versions. It’s a far cry from the laborious task of constantly flipping between editions, offering a much more reader-friendly and efficient way to digest and assess evolving standards.
Screenshot from the ISO website with redlines enabled
Implementation of change tracking
Shall we let you into a secret? ISO uses DeltaXML technology. With XML Compare, finding, processing and representing change becomes a problem of the past.
Using XML Compare
To demonstrate how XML Compare could have represented changes between the U.S. Department of Defense Standard Practice for the Preparation of Digital Technical IETMS I’ve extracted the initial pages from both the 2006 and 2015 editions. After downloading the necessary DeltaXML files from the MyDelta platform and making sure my XML Compare license was activated, I organised the files I’ll be using for the comparison in a dedicated folder named ‘aviation’. To perform a comparison using XML Compare, I executed the following command line code: