Re: HTML and printed doc from one source

Subject: Re: HTML and printed doc from one source
From: "Once more into the breach, dear friends..." <engstromdd -at- PHIBRED -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 1996 12:47:52 -0600

Intervening in an exchange between Sally Yeo and David (The Man) Blyth:

Sally Yeo says....

>You can use Acrobat to distribute a document on the web while retaining
>its exact paper look.

To which David responds:

Cool! But why would I want to do this? On-line documentation
development is not driven by its relative look and feel to hard copy.
Web documentation is driven by it's connection to the Internet.
Because not all on-line documents are meant to be read on line. The
Internet can serve a pure distribution function as well.

For instance, consider the steps necessary to distribute, say, an
company-wide phone book in a global organization:

1) Send out a mailing to the current distribution address list to confirm
accuracy of the list, and number of copies desired.

2) Make changes to address and distribution list to reflect information
from step 1.

3) Make arrangements with the printer to print the desired number of
copies, plus spares.

4) Upon return from the print shop, crank out a bunch of address labels
and have somebody send the right number of books to the right addresses.

5) Turn the spares over to a responsible person, who will send them out on
request to people who blew off the letter sent in step 1 or were never on
the list in the first place. The responsible person should also update the
distribution list.

6) Upon release of the next edition either a) Send soothing letters to
everyone screaming for a copy who couldn't get one because you ran out of
spares or b) turn spares into mulch or another useful substance.

7) Repeat until you can foist this job off on someone else.

Now, consider the same task, given widespread Internet access:

1) Place a .PDF (Adobe Acrobat) on the Internet or its internal company

2) Send out a "come and get it" e-mail message to all company offices (a
distribution list almost certainly maintained for other reasons).

This arrangement gives our users the manifold advantages of paper
(portability, reliability, you can scribble on it, use it in a taxicab,
etc.) while leaving all the vexing questions questions (who needs one?, who
gets one?, why?, does he really need two?, etc.) to the individual

Printing costs are probably significantly higher, but no one may notice
since they'll be buried in the printer and photocopier maintenance costs
of individual offices.


Doug "And it grew wondrous cold..."
ENGSTROMDD -at- phibred -dot- com
-- Samuel Coleridge

The preceding opinions and positions are mine alone, and are only
coincidentally related to those of Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.

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