PDF vs HTML (Act II)

Subject: PDF vs HTML (Act II)
From: David Blyth <dblyth -at- QUALCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 20 Apr 1996 17:53:01 -0700

When we last met our intrepid debaters, Arlen and David were
disputing the finer points of Netscape & Acrobat plug-ins.

David pointed out that Netscape plug-ins do not take up RAM. Thus,
you can connect to various items on the Internet without overhead.

Arlen countered that Adobe plug-ins let you connect to the Internet
too - and he wasn't running out of RAM.

So... Arlen. Will you conceed that computers don't have unlimited
RAM? If you do, then I of course will point out that at some
undetermined point of used RAM, Adobe will try to connect and fail.

I think this brings up a larger question of seamlessness. Browsers
can and do connect to virtually any file format:

o without overhead (as previously discussed)
o without any crack between applications

Ok... I think that ends the Old Business. Onward to New Business.

Scanning Netscape's Developer Conference at...

http://www.netscape.com/misc/developer/conference/proceedings/proceedings.html

... shows a lot of current and future technologies - that I can't run on
my damn Mac (we can debate that one some other time).

Still, it was clear that Netscape regards a Web page as something quite
malleable:

o Pages were autocreated, customized and formatted

- from databases
- by Intra or Internet search engines

o Pages were sliced into pieces then reordered automatically

o Servers could debabelize file formats

o Page data could change on-the-fly (while you watched).

In short, Marc Andreessen said that applications and contents are "increasingly
the same thing".

I've used Acrobat and it does not seem like Adobe fundamentally takes this
approach. Is this correct? If so, then what I'm maintaining is that:

1) The future of technical communication depends on dynamic (malleable)
information display

2) HTML provides much more malleability than PDF

3) Therefore, the future of technical communications depends much
more on HTML than on PDF

If you conceed point #2 (that's a big if, I know), then perhaps we can focus
on point #1.

David (The Man) Blyth
Technical Writer & Web Site Designer
Qualcomm

The usual disclaimers apply - I don't speak for QUALCOMM, they don't speak
for me....

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