An Object Lesson for SGML and open standards in general (Was 'Death of RTF')

Subject: An Object Lesson for SGML and open standards in general (Was 'Death of RTF')
From: Chet Ensign <Chet_Ensign%LDS -at- NOTES -dot- WORLDCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 1996 08:41:21 -0600

For all those wondering why they should invest in the upfront costs of
developing information using open, public standards, I would offer the current
thread as an object lesson to us all, courtesy of Microsoft. There are a lot of
companies out there with a lot of megabytes of information encoded in WinHelp
RTF who will have been badly used by MS if they go forward with this change.
I'm in no position to make a guess at how much money it is going to cost all
these organizations to retool their help files, but it is going to turn out to
be a wind-fall for all the data conversion companies out there.

I'm sure that MS will produce conversion routines, etc., but those routines
will be MS's idea of what the new data should look like and that may or may not
correspond to yours.

Yes, we should appreciate that MS is moving towards more openish standards
itself. But we can also appreciate the fact that the company has given us one
of those stark 'heads-up' lessons in just how vulnerable we are to their whims
when we let them own our data.

Best regards,


Chet Ensign
Logical Design Solutions
571 Central Avenue
Murray Hill, NJ 07974 cworl -at- lds -dot- com [email]
908-771-9221, Ext. 161 [Phone] 908-771-0430 [FAX]

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