Re: Platform of choice

Subject: Re: Platform of choice
From: "Wing, Michael J" <mjwing -at- INGR -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 1997 11:43:35 -0600

>I believe a majority of people use Windows for two reasons: they have to
>or they have to. I haven't met anyone in person who's said "I acutally
>prefer the MS Windows experience to UNIX, NeXT, OS/2, Macintosh, etc." I
>always hear someone uses Windows "because" of something. They use it because
>it's what their clients use, or because the software package they like is
>only available for Windows, or because it's what they learned on, or because
>of this or that. It's like they're apologizing.
>
>Most of us use Windows because everyone else uses it. No other reason.
>It's a vicious circle.

I very much resent the implications in the above statements. I, for
one, choose the windows platforms. No apologies here. I've worked in
mac, VMS, and UNIX. There are a lot of exciting things happening in the
windows environment. The in-place activation, active X controls, HTML
authoring, automation through VB/Powerbuilder/Delphi are just a few.

Many Tech Writers seem to view the platforms through the blinders of
word processing and graphics. What is not seen is the use of text as an
object that can be written in one package (a word processor) and
modified in another (such as a CAD package) using the WP commands. The
same goes for integrating other objects into a word processor. If you
are writing a manual for mechanical design software and you want to use
an actual design file, drop the design right into the word processor.
Need to edit the design, just click the design and the design commands
replace the word-processing commands in the same window. Same with
working the text in the design package. To my knowledge, other
platforms don't behave this way. (By the way, you need an
object-oriented WP such as Word; I don't think Frame supports active X
controls).

Automation allows the Window's user to develop their own package. They
can actually write a VB program that incorporates selected graphics
functions, word-processing functions, spreadsheet functions, and so
forth. They can create and customize an interface that seamlessly
processes the data between these functions.

The trend is to package software by functionality. Kind of like filling
your shopping cart with only the functionality you want (with the
ability to add on later). Windows is well positioned to allow the user
to upgrade functions without removing and replacing the whole package.
For example, if you want a better spell-search function, remove and
replace just the spell-search software. No need to upgrade the entire
WP. You can also mix and match vendors.

Windows is the 'de facto' standard of operating systems. If it was just
smoke and mirrors, the charade would have been over a few years ago. I
know that it is chic to rag on against the large corporations (didn't
that attitude die out in the early 70s).
>
>In the end I think it's neither here nor there because we all have a
>choice for what we use in our personal lives. Business may dictate one
>thing, but our own interests and likes guide what goes on at home and it's
>there that we're able to live comfortably in the OS of our choice. Everyone
>who uses computers for professional work knows there are alternatives with
>merit. If those merits are important to you, you'll choose something other
>than what you use in business. If you don't care, it seems to me you'll
>probably buy Windows.

I do care. That's why I buy Windows.

>It's the easy choice anyway.
>
>

Mike Wing

_____________________________________________
| Michael Wing
| Principal Technical Writer
| Infrastructure Technical Information Development
| http://www.ingr.com/iss/products/mapping/
| Intergraph Corporation
| Huntsville, Alabama
| (205) 730-7250
| mjwing -at- ingr -dot- com

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