Re: Single Source Documentation

Subject: Re: Single Source Documentation
From: "Brierley, Sean" <Brierley -at- QUODATA -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 09:17:15 -0500


I use PDF from FrameMaker because I can create the PDF very quickly and the
customer can print the PDF. PDF also has the advantage of being a single
file. I do not reformat my source document for on-screen display, though I
am sure I would if I had time. Additionally, the PDF can be used by a
service bureau for printing books.

I do not use HTML for several reasons. Firstly, we have some customers who
insist that pure HTML is the only way to go, they are anti-JavaScript,
anti-Applet, anti-CSS, etc. While some of these folks are avid Netscapers
and others are avid MSers (yeah, I use Opera, go figure;?), there seems some
disagreement over whether the HTML 3, 3.2, or 4 standards are the ones to
use. Additionally, without the use of the "extras" (Java applets, et al.) an
HTML book consists of separate HTML files for chapters plus separate files
for graphics, which makes document management and delivery a nightmare
versus PDF which is one file. Furthermore, printing an entire HTML book can
be troublesome.

So, rather than alienate some folks by using HTML presentation that offends
them, and rather than have to deliver and manage many, many files, I use

sean -at- quodata -dot- com

>>>-----Original Message-----
>>>From: Robin Whitmore [mailto:robin -dot- whitmore -at- BLUEDOTSYSTEMS -dot- COM]
>>>Sent: Thursday, February 18, 1999 7:07 PM
>>>To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
>>>Subject: Single Source Documentation
>>>I am the lone tech writer at a very small start-up. I have been given
>>>complete autonomy in deciding what docs to create and their method of
>>>delivery. The only requirement is that they be available in
>>>both print
>>>(meaning professionally printed and bound) and electronic format.
>>>I've decided what docs to create, I'm just not sold on a delivery
>>>method. I am wondering how other Techwrlers have approached this
>>>situation. Do you create a PDF version of the printed
>>>manual? If so, do
>>>you revise the PDF to be more user-friendly on screen?
>>>Do you use HTML instead of PDF? If so, why?
>>>Any suggestions/comments would be greatly appreciated.
>>>Robin Whitmore
>>>BlueDot Systems, Inc.
>>>San Francisco, CA
>>>Send commands to listserv -at- listserv -dot- okstate -dot- edu (e.g.,
>>>Check out topic summaries at

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