Re: Trapping your content in HTML

Subject: Re: Trapping your content in HTML
From: Penny Staples <pstaples -at- AIRWIRE -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 1998 11:01:40 -0600

> SO--my question is this:
>
> How many of you push back when you're asked to develop a manual in HTML
> under these circumstances? How many of you explain why these are NOT
> reasonable expectations? What tactics do you use to get this point
across?
>
I usually suggest PDF files as a better way to go, under these
circumstances.

Rationale:
- The reader is free, and can be launched from the major browsers.
- Acrobat Exchange/Distiller (required for creating PDFs) are reasonably
cheap, with a short learning curve. (And no, I don't work for Adobe)
- You can use bookmarks and clickable links to get hypertext
functionality similar to that of an HTML document.
- You can develop the manual in the word processor of your choice.
- Still allows you to design the document for on-line use, but provides
enough flexbility to convert easily to a paper format.

Caveat:
Avoid using it to dump paper manuals on-line without modification,
i.e., taking a paper manual, running the files through the Distiller and
calling the result an "on-line manual". But that's a different issue ;-)

On the other hand, I do use it to distribute paper manuals to some
of our field people when:
- they want the latest version of a manual, or a part of the manual
- they can't wait for a paper copy to go to print and be distributed.

But in that case I make it clear that it's a paper document - meant
to be printed. So far, it's been working fairly well for us.

Penny Staples
pstaples -at- airwire -dot- com




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