Amy Peacock's print vs. web problem

Subject: Amy Peacock's print vs. web problem
From: "Robert E. Garland" <robert -at- JTAN -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 1 May 1998 20:03:43 -0400

> That said, I have three tools at my disposal right now: Word,
> FrontPage, and PageMaker. There is also the possibility of using
> RoboHelp - more on that in a minute.
> When I was first hired I did a document in Page Maker (a tool that I
> don't know very well but like quite a bit) because it has export to
> HTML capabilities and
> it is a nice layout tool. I really did think that PM was the way to
> go, given my options. My primary task was/is to create online help
> (help for the users that could be accessed on the company intranet).
> But when I exported the doc from PM, the web version wasn't very
> pretty (the print version was good) so my boss wanted me to do the
> next project using a different tool.
> So for the next project I used (am using) Front Page. I find it to be
> to a nice tool that does some cool stuff with a few annoying
> attributes. Now I have a doc that looks good on the web but not good
> in print.

> the doc and 'fixing' the broken screen shots - but, as you can see,
> this leaves me with two separate documents - one in FP and one in
> Word. We all know hard it is to maintain two documents...even me, and
> I haven't been doing this very long.
> I don't know much about RoboHelp or WinHelp or any of the other
> tools that get discussed on the list. My boss (who wants to develop my
> HTML/online and context sensitive help skills) has led me to believe
> that RoboHelp (which we have a copy of) has a steep learning curve and
> that he wants me to be writing and not learning a new tool.
> I have another boss who wants us to have nice printed docs; he
> believes these to be just as important as the web version we will
> have. I want to do both - and I want a tool that will let me do both
> with minimal frustration (is there such a thing?).
> Right now I feel like I am being pulled in two directions without the
> proper tools to do either type of documentation well.
> Amy Peacock
> techwriter & jewelrymaker
> apeacock -at- wolfenet -dot- com


A possible solution, in theory at least, is to use SGML, which is the
grandaddy (grandma?) of HTML.

Supposedly, a document written and maintained in SGML can be output to
either a nice page layout or a nice screen layout, depending on the FOSI
in use. The FOSI is the software that determines the "look" for the
document. The structure of the document is controlled by another bit of
code called the Data Type Definition (DTD). I am currently working in a
rather kludgy (is this really a word?) adaptation of SGML and the
publications gurus speak of a screen FOSI versus a print FOSI. Do a
search on Standard Generalized Markup Language and you will get more
information. Some lurkers on this discussion group may also have good
input, and perhaps real experience using SGML. HTML is, I am told, a
particular DTD for SGML that is designed for screen presentation.

Anyway, the SGML purpose is to "write once, output in any necessary

ArborText of Ann Arbor Michigan also has information and a web page.

Good hunting!

Robert Garland Amateur Radio Station NX3S
Hilltown Township Bucks County Grid FN20ii
Pennsylvania USA robert -at- jtan -dot- com

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