Re: HTML v. Acrobat (was Electronic File Transfer)

Subject: Re: HTML v. Acrobat (was Electronic File Transfer)
From: Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 7 Mar 1996 06:48:00 -0600

SGML, on the other hand, allows the reader's software to determine
the best format for thie given output choice (paper, the 14" VGA
screen, the Workstation's 26" monitor ...)

Actually, it's not the software that determine's anything. It's the settings
the user makes (or more often doesn't make). Since 90+% of the web browsers
in use are set on "factory defaults" which have been determined without
respect to the user's equipment, where's the gain?

For that matter, if the user decides to change all the tag settings to semi-
random states, where's the gain?

On a small screen, Acrobat displays as much of the page as can fit on
screen, with scroll bars that allow you to display the rest when you need to
see it. Likewise, all browsers display what can fit in the available window,
and leave the rest offscreen, to be scrolled to when needed.

I still don't see how a web browser improves on Acrobat. I've done plenty of
testing on 640x480 screens, and I haven't once run into a well-designed
Acrobat document whose line width failed to fit onscreen, if that's what
you're getting at. Good design takes things like that into account.

I've seen some comments to the effect that Acrobat restricts the freedom of
the user. If you mean it prevents someone from making a completely
unreadable hash of my document, then yes, I guess you're right. My job is
communication; if I can prevent someone from impairing my ability to do it
well, I will. Freedom yes, chaos no.

Have fun,

arlen -dot- p -dot- walker -at- jci -dot- com
In God we trust, all others must supply data

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