Re: HTML vs. Adobe Acrobat

Subject: Re: HTML vs. Adobe Acrobat
From: David Blyth <dblyth -at- QUALCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 1996 17:26:35 -0700

>> BTW, if you're using Netscape, try turning off image loading
>> altogether (Options --> Autoload images).

>You missed the point. The imagemaps were the *only* navigation.

It sounds like you're suggesting that HTML encourages bad document
design. Is that correct?

>My theory is that Acrobat is generally used by people who know
>what they're doing and care about the outcome.

Yup. And this is one reason why Tech Writers should get more
involved in HTML - the people who are currently driving much
of the documentation on the Web don't know what they're doing.
But I think the Web is where things are going - and the Web is
dependent on HTML, not Acrobat.

In the meantime, many managers are calling for XXXX --> Web
conversions while blissfully convinced that the same people
who wrote and botched the hard copy documents will magically
create great Web documents - just because "Web" was added as
a prefix.

I'm trying to change the trend by becoming intimately involved
with it. I'm willing to become an Engineer if it helps me become
a better Technical Writer.

>> This is precisely my point. "Both/And" is absolutely the way to go.
>Interesting how this discussion has changed from "You should only use HTML"
>to "Use Netscape instead of Acrobat."

I don't believe I've ever said "you should only use HTML". Instead,
I've explicitly recommended Adobe Amber several times. That means a
Tech Writer will also have to use PDF. You _can_ use only HTML, but
this is not necessarily a good choice.

But I will say that the Web is driven by HTML, not PDF. I'm
guessing that Arlen and I agree on this.

Where Arlen and I disagree _might_ be on whether or not this is A
Good Thing. I'll let Arlen state his opinion. Mine is that this is
A Good Thing because:

o On-line help has shifted from being dependent on its relationship
to paper to being dependent on its relationship to the computer
(or to the Internet).

o PDF still focuses on making information look paper-like.

o HTML is designed to display information on the Internet, not paper.
To criticize HTML because it doesn't create paper-like documents
is to misunderstand the intent.

The bottom line is my conviction that paper is gradually being replaced
by the Internet. And I continue to be dedicated to communicating
technical content on the medium of choice.

David (The Man) Blyth
Technical Writer
Web Site Designer

Several disclaimers apply.

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