Re: Online docs -- was RE: PDF vs HTML

Subject: Re: Online docs -- was RE: PDF vs HTML
From: David Locke <locke -at- SUGAR-LAND -dot- ANADRILL -dot- SLB -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 1996 09:33:51 +0000

At 11:44 AM 10/16/96 +0200, you wrote:

>>And if the paradigm doesn't seem to be shifting quickly
>enough, some enterprising Web entrepreneurs will find ways to speed up the
>process. That's what Microsoft, Corel and a bunch of other major players did
>to kick-start the movement to online docs in the first place. They put most
>documentation on CD's, passed the savings (usually between $100 and $200 for
>major products) on to the customers, and then made the printed docs
>available to anyone who requested them as an extra-cost option. Though I
>haven't done a comprehensive survey on this subject, I'd be willing to bet
>that the number of clients who demand the redundant printed docs at an added
>cost of at least $200 is pretty small.

>The shift [to online documents] is definitely underway already, and it's going
>to gain a lot of momentum in the next generation. And remember that in the
>computer world a generation is, at most, 2-1/2 years.

You can start looking for products that use the client-server paradigm. The
vendor will provide a user with the client, but the server will be on the
net. The documents will be on the net.

The HTML vs PDF argument will go the same way the SGML vs Paper argument
will go. It's the same argument. If you side with the SGML people, who are
just waiting for a good FOSI, DSSSL, or other mechanisms to solve the
physical display issues, you want functional text. If you go the other way,
you want physical display without functional text.

This functionality of text is not really understood by people outside of
library and information sciences. And, much of it has yet to be invented.
SGML is just the infrastructure. The definitive reasons to do HTML over PDF
don't exist yet, but soon the argument will be moot.

Locke -at- sugar-land -dot- anadrill -dot- slb -dot- com
P.O Box 386 (409) 925-8012
Santa Fe, TX 77517

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