Re: PDF & single-sourcing history

Subject: Re: PDF & single-sourcing history
From: Sandy Harris <sandyinchina -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2013 09:43:49 -0500

On Tue, Mar 5, 2013 at 1:31 PM, Laura Lemay <lemay -at- lauralemay -dot- com> wrote:
> It's important to remember that early online help was not really what we think of as online help -- the notion of short modular pieces
> of interlinked content didn't really catch on until the mid 90s. Before that the idea was simply taking traditional linear book-style documentation and putting it on the screen, as-is.

Yes, but look at late 70s Unix man pages. A separate page for every
user command, every function in the programming libraries, every file
format used, every admin/config file, ... with an extensive system of
cross references.

Granted, the cross references were not links; this was over ten years
before the web, probably even before hypertext. They used the
convention that, for example, chmod(1) referred to the user command
(manual section 1) to change the mode (access permission) bits for a
file while chmod(2) referred to the system call that a programmer
would use to change them. To find chmod(1), either type "man 1 chmod"
on the command line or look in section 1 of the print manual. Commands
there are in alphabetical order and there's a TOC, so it is easy.
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