Re: Web works? (Was: Diverse Tools (was HTML editors))

Subject: Re: Web works? (Was: Diverse Tools (was HTML editors))
From: "Simon North" <north -at- synopsys -dot- COM>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 5 Sep 2001 15:34:08 +0200

Well, yes, I am an "old timer" (I remember when you used bangs
("!") instead of ats ("@") in addresses and 300 baud wasn't bad)
but I'm certainly not elitist ... and I'm sure as anything not a
programmer, "just" a tech writer.

[OT: it wasn't about democratization, it was about
commercialization. The 'green card lawyers' and spamming made
us all very scared about losing bandwidth. A&$holes On Line were
their own worst enemies. Most didn't have the common sense to
lurk or read an FAQ and some where downright abuse when people
had the nerve not to answer their questions; they'd paid for their
Internet access and they were d*&n well going to get their money's

The Web works like a bicycle works as a form of transport; that
doesn't stop me wishing it were a Porsche. It isn't elistist, it's just a
yearning (and I know it's just daydreaming) for a better technical
solution, especially when I know it's there for the using. As
(technical) communicators, I believe we have a professional interest
in information portability and longevity. (Have you stopped to think
how useful the contents of the Web will be in 10 years, 100 years,
1000 years, 10000 years?) As a 'markup' language, HTML is really
the lowest common denominator. Ease of use has a price.

Honestly, there's no snobbery or prejudice in my railing against
WYSIWYG HTML editors. I use FP2000, but I also use HomeSite,
Coffeecup, HoTMetaL, Dreamweaver, and several Adobe packages.
Each has its own strengths, weaknesses and quirks. What I hate
(and I'm not pointing fingers at any one package, all are guilty to
some degree) is improperly nested tags, poor white space
handling, unquoted attribute values, poor case sensitivity, use of
unmatched tags - especially when used for formatting, all use of
the FONT tag instead of CSS style declarations ... the list is
pretty long. It isn't so much about 'correct' HTML as 'right' HTML; I
have yet to meet a mainstream HTML that forces you to properly
nest heading levels (no H3 before and H2 ...).

I rejoice in easy to use tools, no snobbery intended. However, as
professional communicators --- is that elitist? --- I think we have a
responsibility to promote the better technical solution, to strive for
better standards and tools, to not silently accept the tools we're
given without looking at the broader picture and to remind ourselves
that there are better solutions.

The media is not the same message.


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Web works? (Was: Diverse Tools (was HTML editors)): From: Jim Shaeffer
Re: Web works? (Was: Diverse Tools (was HTML editors)): From: Tom Murrell

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