Re: HTML editor: does everyone need to be on the same page?

Subject: Re: HTML editor: does everyone need to be on the same page?
From: "Stegall, Sarah" <sarah -dot- stegall -at- terayon -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 11:51:10 -0700

First off, I have to disagree strongly with Andrew Plato that OS homogeneity
is the key to productivity. I have worked for years as the sole Mac user in
a variety of Windows/UNIX/Linux environments, with no compatibility issues
to speak of. That's because the *tools* we use are cross-platform
compatible, as mature tools should be. In the rare cases they aren't, I
find workarounds that do not cut into my productive time. My manager
doesn't care if I write a manual on a CP/M computer or an Amiga as long as
he gets the deliverable he wants on time.

Secondly, I think the attitude that everyone on the writing team should be
using the same tool to produce code with is dangerous; proprietary WYSIWYG
editors almost always impose idiosyncratic code that can render your
finished product accessible only to a specialized audience. If that is not
your intention, you are going to find yourself tweaking code by hand at some
point, or attempting to explain to senior management why Customer X can't
see your very expensive website. Moreover, by allowing the manufacturer of
your proprietary WYSIWYG editor to set the guidelines you produce under, you
are handing over control of your project to outsiders, who may or may not be
supporting their own product next week. And what if your project manager
gets replaced by someone who doesn't like that editor and moves the project
to another? Your only hope is to FIRST establish coding standards (I suggest
HTML 4.0) and then outline very carefully the non-standard deviations from
it, in writing, so that later workers can pick up the pieces.

Thirdly, if you are relying on the software to check projects in and out for
version control, I strongly suggest you get a real version-control program
that will work with *any* flavor code you are working with. Again, why
deliver control of your most important tools to an outsider?

Sarah Stegall
Senior Technical Writer


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