Re: PDF vs. HTML

Subject: Re: PDF vs. HTML
From: David Blyth <dblyth -at- QUALCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 15 Oct 1996 12:35:43 -0700

Hi All;

Both Arlen and I agree that PDF and HTML have their place.
We disagree over specifics and on where we place our emphasis.

>HTML Cons
>- HTML does not support underlining and strike through.
>- HTML does not preserve indentation, font sizes during conversion

Actually, both the Netscape and MS extensions to their 3.0 browsers rectify
these issues. But the real HTML story starts here....

1) The entire software industry is undergoing a shift as they
move applications onto the Web.

If the industry wants to build widgets under water, I'll learn
to scuba dive. HTML is the Web's Lingua Franca, not PDF.
My responsibility is to communicate in the market, not to
control the market.

2) There is no difference between a Web application and a Web
document. Both items combine Java (or Active X) and HTML.

Corporations are having to change their software process
because of differences on the Net. This suggests that the
traditional TW process is also inadequate on the Web.

A) Programmers are inserting HTML comments into the Web

B) Managers are using point #2A as the document.

o Managers can dump Tech Writers, saving money.

o Managers can distribute both the application and the
document over the Web (saving money).

3) The movement onto the Web appears to be the leading edge of
a larger shift, as the computer revolution hits the communication

o CNN now broadcasts news onto your pager.

o Coca-Cola puts cellular phones into their vending machines
to monitor when the machine needs tending.

o Navio (, WebTV ( and Microsoft
( are interested in building small consumer
devices that connect to the Internet. I've heard rumors that
QUALCOMM is also interested.

Output will be via HTML - and someone has to write it (consider
the display area of a Hand Held PC).

4) We're not in Kansas anymore and we need to reevaluate how documents
are created. If you don't like my reasoning, see William Horton's
"The Web Page Design Cookbook", page 547.

Adobe Acrobat mimics the publishing process and does not define a new
paradym. We don't need fancier cameras so we can take better photos
of a play. We need to move the camera so we can create movies.

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

The usual disclaimers apply - QUALCOMM isn't that crazy.

Blodo Poa Maximus

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