Re: Trapping your content in HTML

Subject: Re: Trapping your content in HTML
From: "Huber, Mike" <mrhuber -at- SOFTWARE -dot- ROCKWELL -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 1998 11:47:25 -0600

HTML as compared to what, the MS Word .DOC file format du jour?

I could see arguing against migrating to HTML from a format like XML,
but most of our documentation is currently in very arbitrary,
unreliable, and downright dangerous proprietary formats now, and except
for the formatting limitations, HTML is vastly superior as a storage

Think about it: it's 2003, and you have to update an old file that the
last guy left behind and publish it on the HyperZwim. The extension is
.DOC. Is it a Word 95 file? Word 97? Word 98? Word 3.0? Word 00 Service
Pack Q? Do you have an old CD someplace with that version of Word on it,
or a version with a good import? Good - now, can it export to something
you can use? Oh, darn - the file's a little bit corrupted - or is it the
wrong version of Word, or a bad DLL? Doesn't matter, it's all gone.
Maybe it's only a byte or two out of the 50 Meg, but it won't open.

.FM file, pretty much the same, maybe a few less versions. Interleaf
file? hahahhahahahahah........

Now, same situation but it's .HTML. Gee, nobody uses that anymore. Worst
case - you have to read the tags and figure out that <b> means start
bold text, <H1> means heading 1. The <TD> tag might take a little
research, and you might never figure out what &nbsp; means, but there is
probably some old-timer around that you can ask. Even if there is no
HTML software in existence anymore, you can cobble together a macro in
the HyperZwim editor that handles %95 of the conversion.
File's a little corrupted? OK, use the good part.

PDF is probably a good choice too, since it is widely used as an
archival format and (at least so far) is very compatible between
versions. And there are probably other very good choices that I can't
think of off the top of my head. But the bottom line is that I would not
necessarily argue against HTML as a storage format.

mike -dot- huber -at- software -dot- rockwell -dot- com
Home: nax -at- execpc -dot- com

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Bill Burns [SMTP:BillDB -at- ILE -dot- COM]
>Sent: Thursday, March 26, 1998 10:27 AM
>Subject: Trapping your content in HTML
>When I was at Documation 98 two weeks ago, the number one caveat I heard was
>"Don't use HTML as a storage format." In other words, if you have
>data/content that needs to be reused or simply has to be maintained long
>term, you should develop in a tool that allows you to filter to HTML rather
>than developing in HTML itself--especially if you have to have multiple
>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?

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