Re: Web publishers

Subject: Re: Web publishers
From: Yvonne DeGraw <yvonne -at- SILCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 1996 08:06:20 -0700

Stephan Andraksen <sandrak -at- GRFN -dot- ORG> wrote:

>Most of the recent HTML "generators" are so very easy to use (thanks to those
>almost weekly advances in technology), that I wonder if
>the importance of this skill, as listed on a writer's resume, has
>somehow been lessened.

>Quite a few of the recent postings to TECHWR-L have mentioned HTML
>and the WWW. Just how important is this skill to the technical writer in
>search of employment? IMHO, not very important at all!

The HTML authoring tools are getting better, but HTML is evolving so
quickly (and in so many directions courtesy of Netscape and Microsoft),
that by the time you get software out there it is obsolete. If you don't
want to use cutting/bleeding-edge HTML, the authoring tools are fine. At
this point it still helps to know some HTML so you can work around any
roadblocks the authoring tool sets up. (See http://www.tools.gnn.com/ for
GNNpress, the best of the authoring tool group IMHO.)

If you do want to use the latest from Netscape, Microsoft, and others --
then HTML is an important and valuable skill to list on your resume. As the
pace of the evolution of HTML slows, this will become less true. Lots of
the cutting edge Web stuff is moving into the realm of programming, not
writing -- JavaScript, Java, etc. If you are doing HTML, you have to decide
how far into that territory you want to venture.

On a related note, remember that not all writing is technical
communication. It follows that not all Web pages need to be written by
technical communicators. There's a lot of marketing, art, journalism,
vanity pages, and other stuff on the Web. Sure, as HTML supports more fonts
and colors the Web will increasingly contain stuff that looks like ransom
notes. The same thing happened with DTP. They'll get over it eventually.

Yvonne DeGraw, Technical Services o Web Authoring
yvonne -at- silcom -dot- com o Technical Writing
http://www.silcom.com/~yvonne/ o Database Design and Publishing
Tel: 805/683-5784 o User-Interface Design
(Check out the "NanoTheater" I built: http://www.di.com/Theater/Main.html)


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