Re: Mosaic as an online documentation viewing engine?

Subject: Re: Mosaic as an online documentation viewing engine?
From: Margaret Thomas <marg -at- STC -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 1994 09:38:55 -0800

>The recent dramatic growth of the Internet community and World-Wide Web
>brings us another contender: Mosaic, the freeware Web browsing tool.
>I've heard some suggestions that Mosaic is a good choice for online
>document viewing. The idea is to write product documentation in (or
>filter it into) HTML and then use Mosaic for display.

>Does anyone have experience with this delivery method? Is it a sound idea?
>Might it in fact be the future of user information?

> -- Steve Jong
> Digital Equipment Corporation
> Littleton, MA USA
Steve: I evaluated Mosaic as an on-line help display vehicle earlier this
year. I am using FrameMaker and took a look at what was available at the
time for filtering MIF to HTML as well.

I decided against it (at least for now) because --

1. Most of the formatting information in my FrameMaker files is lost when
filtered to HTML. HTML doesn't offer much in the way of formatting
features. In fact, support for tables was only recently added.

2. Mosaic doesn't yet offer a page-oriented display structure. Each file
is a long scroll and, except for hypertext links, the only user control
available is the scroll bar.
I want to be able to offer a more structured approach to on-line help to my
users. I suppose there are workarounds, including storing each page in a
separate file, but that would add considerable maintenance overhead.

3. I believe (could be wrong about this) that, unless your company
purchases the Mosaic source and modifies it for your on-line help display
utility, that the standard Mosaic tools for accessing the WWW will be
available to your user each time on-line help is accessed. I don't want
the user distracted by tools/information not relevant to the task at hand,
that is, getting help on my company's product.

Mosaic is described as a browsing tool. I don't want my users to feel that
they're meandering in meadows of information; I want them to feel that they
can find the information they need to solve a problem easily and quickly .

Things I do like about Mosaic include the history list and the change in
color to hypertext links that have already been accessed. (I've
occasionally had the feeling, when I returned to a page where I'd left
these tracks, that I was just going in circles. But that's information

Support for graphics in Mosaic may be another feature that overrides other

Just my thoughts/experience so far. I am very interested in this thread
and in others' experience with Mosaic.

Margaret Thomas
Software Technologies, Arcadia, CA
marg -at- stc -dot- com
(818) 445-7000 x313
fax (818) 445-5548

Previous by Author: Full-time Tech Writing Position Available
Next by Author: Re: Re[2]: generic "he"
Previous by Thread: Re: Mosaic as an online documentation viewing engine?
Next by Thread: Re: Mosaic as an online documentation viewing engine?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads