Summary of Responses for Online Manuals

Subject: Summary of Responses for Online Manuals
From: Suzette Seveny <sseveny -at- PETVALU -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 16 Jul 1998 17:42:12 -0400

These were the responses I received when I asked the list for advice concerning online manuals:

WORD (*.doc, *.rtf)
PROS
- Most users have it.

CONS
- Formatting falls apart when viewed or printed if they don't have the template.
- Graphics present problems for the browser.
- Users can modify documents, requiring security at the server level.
- Users can save files locally, alter, then print.
- Different printers can affect output.
- Page numbers can be different from the TOC.
- *.rtf or *.html ugly and inconsistent unless heavily reworked.
- Weird page breaks.
- Inaccurate TOC /Index.

HTML Files
PROS
- Better than Word for viewing.
- Loads quickly

CONS
- Browser determines what viewer sees.
- Awful to print - doesn't recognize page ends because it lacks page knowledge.
- Word's *.html output stinks - you spend more time fixing than coding by hand.
- Time required to learn HTML.

PDF Files
PROS
- Ensures integrity of format User cannot modify
- Consistent results Reader small & free
- There is a free IE plug in to view files
- WYSIWYG when printed
- Has all the hyperlink advantage of HTML
- Has all the formatting advantage of Word Searchable using Acrobat's search tool
- Can assign Read/Print privileges through the Reader

CONS
- Need Acrobat Reader or IE Plug in to view / print.
- Time required to learn software.

Suzette Seveny
Markham, Ontario, Canada
sseveny -at- petvalu -dot- com or suzette -at- yesic -dot- com




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