Re: WWW summaries

Subject: Re: WWW summaries
From: LaVonna Funkhouser <lffunkhouser -at- HALNET -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 1 Aug 1994 13:09:07 -0500

summary 2
Date: Thu, 7 Jul 1994 18:43:44 -0400
From: vogelke%c-17igp -dot- wpafb -dot- af -dot- mil -at- internet (Contr Karl E. Vogel)
Subject: Re: How do You use the WWW?

We're considering the use of Mosaic as a future project. The best
current use I've seen so far is for the Indiana University Support Center's
Knowledge database. It has over 2500 technical tips that are written in
question and answer format. If you want to check it out, the URL for the
SC home page is

The URL for Indiana University's home page is

If you have comments, address them to Dennis McWhirter,
dmcwhir -at- ucs -dot- indiana -dot- edu

Karl Vogel vogelke -at- c-17igp -dot- wpafb -dot- af -dot- mil []

Date: Thu, 7 Jul 1994 20:50:48 EDT
From: Dan BRINEGAR <HBDeBenu%aol -dot- com -at- internet>
Subject: Re: How do you use WWW?

Glen Accardo wrote about using WWW as a distribution tool--

>Despite the advantages of such a model for distributing updates and such,
>we chose not to use WWW as part of our product. Primarily, Windows people
>want help that looks like Windows help, Mac people want MacHelp stuff,
>X people like HyperHelp, etc. That is, native help platforms seem
>to "look better" to people who use only a single platform.

Just an aside, and I'm not slamming anybody, but; isn't the whole point to
eventually have the same interface regardless of platform? (I think I heard
that from Alan Kay or Ray Noorda at a meeting or something...)
Anyway... the electronic documentation I've done with Frame looks exactly
the same on every platform we can get it to run on (assuming, of course, that
the correct fonts, ATM, display drivers, printer drivers, memory-available,
etc...) our customers seem to like that... we're not distributing a
Windows/Mac/Sun product, we're distributing a _Company Name Here_ product.

Dan Brinegar

Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 15:20:04 MEZ
From: Jack Shaw <jsh%software-ag -dot- de -at- internet>
Subject: Mosaic/WWW ("W3") stuff for MS-DOS/Windows at...

...ftp site: directory>
/PC/Mosaic (case-sensitive, that...)

...and info. on its use from the list:
GO4LIB-L -at- UCSBVM -dot- BITNET (or equivalent) the Dec. 2/3 '93 digest or equivalent
archive of messages.

J. Shaw
jsh -at- software-ag -dot- de
Darmstadt, Germany
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 13:01:59 EDT
From: Fred Wersan <wersan%ZEUS -dot- MA30 -dot- BULL -dot- COM -at- internet>
Subject: WWW and doc distribtuion

Several posters on this item yesterday commented on security issues and
inconvenience of accessing docs through a network. You don't necessarily have
to go this route. Mosaic can read local documents as well as those across the
net, so you can use it is a viewer of delivered docs.

The downside is that the documents would have to be put in a predetermined
directory so that all the links would point to the correct place and you would
need a customized set of docs for each platform. An editor with conditional text
for the link locations could simplify this somewhat.

The upside is that you still have a uniform document interface across at least
three different platforms without major expense for viewer licenses.

I recently created a small HTML document on my PC, which I then moved to a
UNIX box with relatively little trouble.

As a side note, I came across a Windows app called HTMLAssistant. I found it
while browsing the What's New page a couple of weeks ago. It puts in all the
HTML tags using buttons and dialog boxes. It ain't perfect, but it's free. I
hope there's a special place in heaven for all the folks putting out good
freeware and low cost shareware that the rest of us can take advantage of.

Fred Wersan
wersan -at- zeus -dot- ma30 -dot- bull -dot- com

Date: Mon, 11 Jul 1994 10:07:23 -0600
From: varchamb%midway -dot- uchicago -dot- edu -at- internet (Valerie Archambeau)
Subject: Re: How do You use the WWW?

I work in a University setting, so WWW is a most beneficial way of
presenting our information to our users (most are local, most have access
to WWW and Mosaic).

My department has recently put up their own home page with pointers to
other university information sources like the library cataglogue, the
online directory, the oxford english dictionary, etc.

This Fall, for the first time the AIT Resource Guide to Advanced Computing
and Networking Services will have space on WWW. I am currently working on
this project. All documentation referred to in the guide with be
*hyperlinked* (you click on the application you want to know more about and
Mosaic takes you to the appropriate documentation).

The prediction around here is that eventually Mosaic (or a WWW interface
like it) will eventually subsume all of the other network access tools
(like Gopher, WAIS).

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

varchamb -at- midway -dot- uchicago -dot- edu

Date: Mon, 11 Jul 94 11:03:41 CDT
From: Hobbes
Subject: How do You use the WWW?


We're becoming very heavily involved in SGML and in electronic
distribution. We've had a surprisingly great amount of customer demand
for Internet access to our documentation, preferrably through WWW. Our
move toward SGML makes HTML & WWW a fairly natural progression. So far,
though, we're just in the "wouldn't it be nice" stage--no strong

We have two projects involving electronic distribution: one is a CD that
uses DynaText, and another is a CD that uses WorldView. We've looked at
just about all of the cross-platform viewers, and have come to the
conclusion that the tools and the market are not yet sufficiently
advanced to have converged (as the word processing market, to a great
extent, has); every tool has a few features that are neat, but there's
no one tool that is head & shoulders above the others. Mosaic is kind of
in that state--it has some cool features, but it's not great. Then again,
it's not really that much worse than anything else. Plus, there are no
licensing fees, and the updates seem to be more reasonable. (I sometimes
wonder who started the myth that electronic documentation was easier to
update--like sending out a new CD was really all that easier than sending
out a new book! Ha!)

One of my big beefs about SGML-based viewers is that they give the reader
too much control over presentation. I've always believed that the
presentation is a component of the communication--I don't want the reader
to have the ability to physically alter any of the communication. (We also
have good legal reaons for this.) I also believe that for the type of
documentation our group puts out, and for the general experience level our
audience has with electronic documentation, many of the traditional page-
related navigational aids are a must. SGML viewers toss those things aside.
Viewing HTML-encoded info is a lot like viewing SGML-encoded info, so I
do have many reservations. And, although I'm unhappy about it, I'm
becoming resigned to the idea of having less control over presentation.
There's a lot of conflict here about what to do with product information.
It's getting incredibly messy.


Best regards, Hobbes
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 94 13:44:35 CDT
From: Hobbes
Subject: Re: How do You use the WWW?

You asked which method I preferred--CD or Mosaic. Well, we
haven't tried Mosaic yet, but I think that's what I'd prefer.
Making the CDs was really a pain in the ass. The production
took just as much time as it takes us to do a print run, even
though we mastered the CD in house.

I think the real advantage of Mosaic and WWW is that the
document is "live"--you can correct a mistake and put the
new version out on the server the same day. One problem here
is that you'd need to notify people who'd pulled the previous
version, which is fairly easy with print docs and CDs because you
have to have a list of people & addresses in order to do the
initial shipment. With WWW, you don't automatically know who's
accessing your documentation, and that's one of the conceptual
problems we have. We need to register users and provide
limited access. There are ways to do that, and we need to find
the best method. This type of registration should at least
give us the notification list.

Another thing... By shipping proprietary viewers (like we did
on our CDs), *we* become the tool support. Yuck. But, give
something to people in a tool they already have (*they* get
their own access to WWW), and you're off the hook somewhat.

And... I like the idea of linking documentation in as part
of Internet services. The whole concept seems so much richer
and robust.

On the plus side of CDs... We've had a lot of control over
the format, the hyperlinking, etc. A big chunk of that goes
away with Mosaic, but it's not horrible; I mean, it's not
wonderfully elegant, but it's not like reading ASCII. It's livable.

Do you have access to a WWW server? The best way to find out
about it is to log on to a WWW server and read the online
docs. Most servers have "A Guide to the World Wide Web" online--
it's reasonably good. I'd tell you how to get to ours, but
right now it's really just a (company) Web. We're pretty
firewalled. If you can't find any way to get to it, I could
probably print it out and send it to you. Let me know if
you want me to do that.

Best regards, Hobbes

Date: Wed, 13 Jul 1994 14:36:48 -0600 (MDT)
From: Nancy Hayes <nancyh%pmafire -dot- inel -dot- gov -at- internet>
Subject: RE: WWW

I use gopher more than I use WWW if I'm searching for something. I've
got a Unix-based system that has a fairly decent search feature for
Veronica and Jughead searches.

I've also got access to Mosaic, but it doesn't work quite right yet, and
I don't like the Unix-based version of WWW all that much. Eventually, our
group is thinking of putting our company style guide on the net as a
hyper-text document.

I'm not certain if this is the type of info you wanted, or not.

--N. L. Hayes
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 1994 10:27:36 -0600
From: Valerie Archambeau <varchamb%MIDWAY -dot- UCHICAGO -dot- EDU -at- internet>
Subject: Mosaic and Standards (was: Format for standards tables)

>I like Doug's idea of a series of tables that list
>the variant standards that we have to deal with.

>Hmmm...What would be the ideal format for these table?
>Wouldn't hypertexted Mosaic docs be ideal for this?

>Perhaps some WWW users could comment, or perhaps others
>have better ideas. I'd like to hear them.

>lffunkhouser -at- halnet -dot- com
Sorry it took me so long to reply--I had a deadline...

Unfortunately, HTML, the mark-up language for Mosaic is very limited
in its formatting ability. (I know--I've just been wrasslin' with it =^>)
It might be difficult to come up with a "table",in itself. Some creative
work-arounds might be necessary. You see, Mosaic provides a limited number
of styles that you *must* use (in your original word processing doc) in
order for the text to be properly converted into the program screen. Mosaic
takes the styles that you have given the text and then formats the document
on its own--at this point you have little or no control over the visual
look and feel. Individual users of Mosaic may change the look using their
preferences option.

It would be possible, however, to create a page that had links to various
industries/professions standards (i.e., "Click here to view our standards
among programmers." "Click here to view our writing standards among
student help-desk assistants").

Alternately, you have each word on the Standards list hyperlinked to
a page detailing standards in all applicable industries.

Just some ideas. I hope this makes sense. I haven't had my morning
caffeine dose yet....

varchamb -at- midway -dot- uchicago -dot- edu
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 1994 11:32:02 -0600
From: Matt Hicks <matt%UNIDATA -dot- UCAR -dot- EDU -at- internet>
Subject: Re: Mosaic and Standards (was: Format for standards tables)

> You see, Mosaic provides a limited number
> of styles that you *must* use (in your original word processing doc) in
> order for the text to be properly converted into the program screen.

1. No. _Mosaic_ provides _no_ styles. The DTD for HTML defines a limited
number of styles. Mosaic is just one of many browsers that understands
and displays these styles. DO NOT confuse Mosaic with the WWW (World
Wide Web) and HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol). Mosaic is not the
WWW, anymore than all tissues are Kleenex.

2. In general, your original document can include as many different
styles as you want, but during the conversion, they will have to be
mapped onto the more limited set of HTML styles. For example, you
might have lists labeled with roman numerals, arabic numerals, and
letters--you would set your conversion program to map all three of
these styles to the HTML style "ordered list" (<OL><LI></OL>), which
would cause them all to be displayed with arabic numerals. Admittedly,
not all converters allow you to do this, but all the good ones should.

> It would be possible, however, to create a page that had links to various
> industries/professions standards (i.e., "Click here to view our standards
> among programmers." "Click here to view our writing standards among
> student help-desk assistants").

Again, because not all browsers are Mosaic browsers, you should not
create links of the form "Click here for..." Not all browsers are
mouse driven, so you do not always click on a link. For many users
(particularly those users who are accessing your HTML pages over slow
connections with text-based browsers like Lynx), "click here" doesn't
make much sense. Something along the lines of "This link takes you
to..." would be better. Of course, there is some debate as to whether the
link takes you somewhere, or brings something to you (does the data
or the window move).

What this boils down to is that you need to think in terms of HTML,
not in terms of Mosaic. Writing documents so that they only display
properly on Mosaic is easy to do, but it is analogous to writing a
software application that only runs on Macintoshes. Yes, it is useful
to many people, but there are as many more who can't or won't use it.
The beauty of HTML is that as long as you follow the document type
description (DTD), any compliant browser will display your carefully
written information. It's like being able to write a single program
that runs on Macs, PCs and UNIX boxes.

I've been meaning to contribute more to the HTML/Mosaic/WWW
discussions on this group, but until now I haven't had the time. HTML
docs are an important piece of our user-community support services. I
have begun providing an HTML version of our newsletter (which
currently violates a couple of the rules I outlined above, but I
intend to fix that), we have HTML fact sheets, product plans, weather-
information servers, workshop applications, etc. We are a
noncommercial organization sponsored by the National Science
Foundation and serving the atmospheric science community, and we need
to provide our users with timely information at low to no cost. Some
of our manuals have already been (somewhat crudely) converted to HTML,
and future versions will be written with conversion as part of the
plan. Anyway, I'm glad to help out in this area when I can, so if
anyone has any specific problems or questions, I'll try to help out or
point you in the right direction. Bear in mind however, that I'm
probably as busy as the rest of you, so it may take me a while to respond.

Matt Hicks, Tech. Writer, Unidata matt -at- unidata -dot- ucar -dot- edu

Date: Tue, 19 Jul 1994 12:52:44 -0600
From: Valerie Archambeau <varchamb%MIDWAY -dot- UCHICAGO -dot- EDU -at- internet>
Subject: Re: Mosaic and Standards (was: Format for standards tables)


Thank you for your clarification. But I wasn't trying to make a general
statement about WWW and creating documents for all browsers.

Lavonna asked specifically about the Mosaic browser, and my comments sought
to address her concern. Yes, there are other browsers, but at this
"historical moment" Mosaic is the most widely used.

It is important to note, however, that my audience is a limited, definable
one--a university--and that my department recommends and supports Mosaic
for our user community.

The WWW style sheet I downloaded contained these styles. The archive also
contained an RTF to HTML converter. In order to make the conversion
easier, I have used only these styles in my documents:

Address Style
Block Quote Style
Bullet List
Bullet List One
Bullet List Two
Glossary one
Glossary Two
Heading One
Heading Two
Heading Three
Heading Four
Heading Five
Heading Six
Numbered List
Numbered List One
Numbered List Two

Thanks for your input :)
Valerie--Still Without Her Morning Coffee--Archambeau
varchamb -at- midway -dot- uchicago -dot- edu


Date: Tue, 19 Jul 1994 22:23:40 GMT
From: Ad absurdum per aspera <JTCHEW%LBL -dot- GOV -at- internet>
Subject: Re: How do You use the WWW?

Distributing updates through it would be one thing (given a
well-connected and net.literate audience). Making it the
realtime help server, and (if I understand the mechanism
correctly) thereby introducing a single point of failure
that affects everybody, may not be so good.

"Just another personal opinion from the People's Republic of Berkeley"


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