Re: HTML and printed doc from one source (long)

Subject: Re: HTML and printed doc from one source (long)
From: David Blyth <dblyth -at- QUALCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 1996 12:20:31 -0700

Hi all;

Richard and I discoursed a bit off-line to see if we have any
areas of agreement. I think we do, but don't want to leap
to any conclusions. Here's a modified version of my half of
the conversation (I have both, but should let him post it, if desired).

>L e t m e s a y i t a g a i n, m o r e s l o w l y.

>Acrobat solves a *different problem* from the one HTML addresses.
>Acrobat is not about on-line documents. It's about remote printing.

1) If Acrobat "solves a different problem than HTML" (arguendo), then
why insist that Acrobat (which solves problem A) is used to solve
problem B which occurs over the Web?

My argument is not against the use of Acrobat per se. My argument
is against those believe that you can *replace* the Web with Acrobat.
And (by your own argument), these are two different animals,

HTML and Acrobat may be _related_ animals, but each should be used
for their intended purposes.

2) One of the things I'm trying to do is to revise how we're looking at the
problem. IMHO, many Tech Writers still have a hard-copy mentality.
That is,

o Documents must be 8 1/2 x 11

o Documents must be revised in consecutive drafts.

o Document must be formatted with a high-end DTP.

I maintain that there are simpler ways to commit suicide. In
particular:

o The Web is not about hard-copy - it's about on-line documents.

o The Web is dynamic (the "24 Hours in Cyberspace" Web site will be
modified every half-hour). Hard-copy documents are static.

o The Web is multi-media. Hard copy is not. The fact (for example)
that one can include a video via Acrobat 2.0 does not begin to
approach what is available over the Web.

3) I have never said that the Web replaces Acrobat. Au Contraire, I
explicitly said that Adobe Amber is a good interim replacement.
There are a lot of static hard-copy documents which are certainly
worth reusing.

But (to coin a phrase) the Web is a different animal. What concerns
and excites me is (IMHO) it looks like Technical Communication
shows a long-term trend to moving onto the Web. Not Adobe. The
Web is dynamic, not static. The Web is interactive, not passive.
And right now, the Web is dominated by engineers.

Ideally, I'd like to see Technical Writers involved in the shift.
Can we design long, self-modifying and interactive technical
documentation?


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