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Subject:Re: TW and grad school -Reply From:"Linda K. Sherman" <linsherm -at- CONCENTRIC -dot- NET> Date:Wed, 11 Feb 1998 17:11:16 -0500
David Hailey wrote:
> I must confess that I agree with Mike on this. I think single sourcing is a
> very bad idea. It althogether ignores the needs of the reader to make things
> cheaper for the developer. At least for myself, I have always approached
> online documentation and hard-copy documentation with different mind sets and
> for different reasons.
> I think the jury is still be out on this one. And at least for now, I will
> continue teaching that online and traditional documentation address different
> audiences for different reasons.
Somehow I can't help but feel that everybody's missing the real issue
here, but perhaps I'm misinterpreting what people are trying to say.
All of your documentation is already "online"--you stored it in your
computer when you created it. All you have to do is give the end user a
copy, and voila, the user can read it or print it also, assuming access
to compatible software. But perhaps I'm taking "online" more literally
than what people intended.
The real problem as I see it--and maybe this is what people were trying
to say--is formatting. The problem is not fundamentally content,
audience, or anything else. Formatting that looks good in a book is
rarely best for online viewing, searching, etc.--or vice versa. Since
the vast majority of word processors, desktop publishing programs, and
markup languages embed formatting information in the text itself, rather
than embedding references to the text within the formatting information
(which would allow you to modify one copy of the text while maintaining
two different sets of formatting information), this is a problem for
which I see no short-term resolution.