Re: PDF vs HTML (Act II)

Subject: Re: PDF vs HTML (Act II)
From: Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 1996 07:10:00 -0600

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

You should at least change this to "David pointed out (incorrectly) that
Netscape plug-ins...." When I added the Shockwave plug-in to the Netscape
beta I was running, I had to nearly double the maximum RAM partition it
was given on my system. All the plug-ins add RAM costs to Netscape.

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.

RAM doesn't need to be unlimited, unless, of course, you never, ever,
intend to exit a helper application.

On the subject of RAM, I just recently set up an internet connection for
someone. She didn't have enough RAM to run Netscape on her system, yet she
had no problem running separate, email, news, ftp, and web (not Netscape)
applications. Netscape was too monolithic for her.

o without overhead (as previously discussed)

Wrong.

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:

And what's the guarantee that anyone besides Netscape's dropping
marketshare will be able to see any of those hypothetically available
features? Remember, Netscape costs money and MS Explorer is given away for
free. I've never seen a commercial package gain share at the expense of a
free one. (Note: I'm not predicting the End Of Netscape. I'm simply
recognizing that MS's marketshare will expand at Netscape's expense. To
what level will be hard to predict, but parity wouldn't surprise me,
despite the fact that people like me won't use it, simply because it's a
MS product.)

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

"The future of *some* technical communication..." I can't see how the kind
of TC done around here depends on it. It takes too long to roll out new
machinery to our plants to make anything change more often than weekly.
Annually in some cases is a stretch.

2) HTML provides much more malleability than PDF

For the moment this may be true. It doesn't seem that way to me. I'd
wrestle with the "much" in that statement.

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

It's point one that's the biggest issue here. "Technical Communications"
is far more than just the computer industry. In many sectors, annual
change is an impossible goal, and a 24-month development cycle is rapid
deployment. Some fields will find one-minute cycles vital; most won't.

As HTML grows an expands, it won't be recognizable to those who use it
today. Unfortunately, it may also not be recognizable to those who use it
*then*, either. And that's the point. PDF has a brighter future as a
standard than HTML has. HTML is the bone of contention between Netscape
and MS, and by the time those two behemoths are done tugging at it, it'll
be useless to everyone else.

Have fun,
Arlen

arlen -dot- p -dot- walker -at- jci -dot- com
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