RE: Mark Baker tackles large and complex subjects in his latest post for Every Page is Page One

Subject: RE: Mark Baker tackles large and complex subjects in his latest post for Every Page is Page One
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: Craig Cardimon <craig -dot- cardimon -at- gmail -dot- com>, techwrl <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2014 16:03:15 -0400

I read the article, just now, and like many articles by Mark Baker, I nodded in agreement, all the way through.

Then I saw some links to further recent posts.
I started reading "Getting Past the Linear/Hypertext Hybrid", and found myself shaking my head in disagreement in the very first paragraph.

He says: "Perhaps this is a necessary stage in our evolution from static linear paper manuals to dynamic hypertext information sets, but if so we have lingered in it far too long...".

Back when my employer first made noises about developing a GUI for our to-that-point command-line-only tools and interfaces, I decided to get out ahead by switching over from my FrameMaker-generated PDF books (Installation and Configuration Guides, Administration Manuals, Reference docs, and SDK Guides), to RoboHelp-generated WebHelp that contained all the same info, but in individual topics. There was still a Table of Contents, Index, Glossary, but you could enter anywhere and there were many hyperlinks, in place of the previous few within-a-document-only cross-references.

It wasn't long before customers were asking for PDFs.

After some years, I became no longer a techpubs department-of-one, and the new guy wanted to use our then-current tool, Flare to create PDF, book-organized doc sets, with html WebHelp as an afterthought. I went along with it because he was willing to do all the work of creating the templates for our then-new corporate look-and-feel, and it promised to produce a better PDF output than the afterthought that I'd been doing when WebHelp was primary. It didn't hurt that, all those years later, the employer still hadn't actually gotten around to creating that GUI, though they have, since.

Anyway, my point is that even at this late date, and with a product that is mostly usable via GUI, our customers still demand book-format docs.
They like, and use, the WebHelp, but they also like and use the book versions of same, especially when they want to separate out (usually print out) a bunch of sequential pages to take with them.

So, to that extent, I think Mark Baker is quite wrong. We should linger in the Linear/Hypertext hybrid as long as our customers want us to.

If Baker was offering hands-on how-to, to offer the customers a hypertext-only solution that would be blindingly obvious to them as the superior solution that answered all their needs, then I'd take another think. But right now, I think he's arguing for something that most customers in my industry don't yet want, and don't want to pay for, at the expense of what they do want.

-----Original Message-----
From: Craig Cardimon
Sent: March-15-14 11:54 AM
To: techwrl
Subject: Mark Baker tackles large and complex subjects in his latest post for Every Page is Page One

I was wondering this myself.

http://everypageispageone.com/2014/03/14/handling-large-and-complex-subjects-in-every-page-is-page-one/

--
Cordially,
Craig Cardimon
"The Duct Tape Writer"
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Mark Baker tackles large and complex subjects in his latest post for Every Page is Page One: From: Craig Cardimon

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