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 14:53:23 -0600


I'm writing in response to:

Please remember that my chief concern is not those who use Acrobat
for its intended purpose. My concern is with those who think
Acrobat can REPLACE the Web.
I'm not sure REPLACE is the right word. Acrobat is a means to use the Web
in a different, and non-interactive way.

>Because not all on-line documents are meant to be read on line.

If the document was not meant to be read on line, it should not be
designed and built to be an on-line document.
Hmmm... I think the difficulty here is the definition of "on-line
document." By on-line document, -I- mean anything you can get at in
electronic, instead of paper form. Regardless of whether it's designed to
be viewed on screen or not. I think you mean documents that are actually
chunked, linked, etc. as documents meant to be used on-line should be.

No question that the two media (print and screen) are different, and that
we need to respect those differences. But, you can still electronically
-distribute- documents whose main purpose in life is to be read on paper,
and thereby retain the advantages of paper while dodging some of its
administrative and financial headaches

>The Internet can serve a pure distribution function as well.

In this case, you could just as easily distribute Word5 files and
skip converting them to PDF. Not every company gives a darn that
their customers might not use Word5.
But good companies do, and the Acrobat reader is free, it preserves the
integrity of the original document while allowing customers/clients to make
and use as many copies as they're willing to pay for and maintain. Not to
mention some nice compression to make the trip go faster.

The Web (as distinct from the Internet) allows the interactive display of
self-modifying documents. That is, the document is constantly in motion.
IMHO, there is only one reason why people should use Acrobat - because a
lot of static documents already exist. Once you wave a magic wand and
instantly make all the PDF documents available, the Web is still moving.
And the Web is still inaccessible to anyone whose computer is down, or
when the server is down, or when the customer is in a taxicab in downtown
Manila. I don't want to revive the "Will paper ever die completely?"
thread, but at least for now, there are reasons to have paper, and given
that you have to deal with paper, electronic distribution can ease some of
the pain.

Let's see if I can state this another way. IMHO, technology is now moving
faster than the rate at which hard copy documents can be iterated. Thus,
20 years or so in the future, every Tech Writer in the US will be out of
a job - unless we adapt to the Web, or its future equivalent.
Nah. We'll adapt to the electronic environment, and have jobs so
indistinguishable from trainers, programmers, and analysts that no one
outside the profession will be able to distinguish the three categories.


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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