About SPFE

SPFE (pronounced “spiffy”) is an architecture for building structured authoring and publishing systems with an emphasis on hypertext and bottom-up information architectures. The name SPFE is an acronym for the four layers of the SPFE architecture: Synthesis, Presentation, Formatting, and Encoding.

Key features of the SPFE architecture are:

  • Support of Every Page is Page One: SPFE is designed to support the Every Page is Page One topic-based information design approach.
  • Reduce authoring complexity while maintaining structure: SPFE is designed to reduce the complexity that authors are asked to deal with in using any structured writing system. In particular, it seeks to eliminate the need to know how the publishing or content management system works or how and where other content is stored. At the same time, it seeks to maintain a high degree of structure even from occasional contributors by using targeted subject-domain tagging languages.
  • Loose coupling: The SPFE architecture divides the publishing process up into well defined stages. Content is moved between the stages in XML format, allowing you to easily swap in different tools and processes at any stage of the tool chain. SPFE is intended to allow you to use other markup-based tools such as Markdown, DocBook, or DITA as part of a SPFE process.
  • Subject domain support: SPFE is designed to support the rapid creation of subject domain markup languages which simplify the authoring task while improving conformance and quality. Most current systems are principally based on document domain markup languages.
  • Automation of organization and linking: SPFE is designed to support the automation of content organization and linking based on metadata. It does not require the use of maps or relationship tables to build and maintain links.
  • Support formats other than XML: Not all structured writing is or should be done in XML. XML is often a barrier to entry and acceptance for potential authors. SPFE is designed to support the capture of structured data in any format that can express the required structure.


A SPFE Open Toolkit is being developed.


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