Re: Online docs in oil & gas

Subject: Re: Online docs in oil & gas
From: Alfred Barten <barten -at- ORRQMS2 -dot- GDDS -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 12:53:21 -0500


When people ask me how to produce a single-source doc for paper and online,
I ask them to decide what's more important: paper or online. I don't
believe you can get optimal (or even equal) delivery in both media from a
single source.

If online is more important, as an end user I much prefer HTML because it
lets the doc author/designer take full advantage of the online medium.

If paper is more important, Acrobat makes sense. When I receive a
software package that has a help system in Acrobat, for example, the first
thing I do is print it out and put the printout into a binder. I never use
it online. The printout is beautiful - far better than anything you get
with HTML - but I find Acrobat documents aren't designed to take advantage
of the online medium. I've never created an Acrobat doc, so I'll withold
judgment about Acrobat's capabilities. Typically, though, Acrobat docs are
paper docs that happen to be online. Adding a few links and bookmark
capabilities isn't enough (for me).

Al Barten
Tech Writer
General Dynamics Defense Systems
Pittsfield, MA

At 09:33 AM 2/23/99 -0600, Karen Farrell wrote:
>Hello all,
>I am the lone writer in a company that produces software for the oil and
>gas industry. We have recently moved some of our print documentation
>online in PDF form. (We are a UNIX shop, and I use FrameMaker.)
>Problem: Two of our developers HATE Acrobat and want our online docs in
>HTML. Should this matter? (They don't use the docs themselves.) No, but
>one of them is a VP, so it does.
>My boss has asked me to discover two things:
>1. What are other companies in the oil and gas industry (specifically
>exploration and production) using and planning to use in the near future
>for their online documents?
>2. What type of online documentation do customers (specifically
>geoscientists) prefer?
>Some of our documents are rather large. (A recent PDF was 60 MB.) I
>personally believe that we don't have the resources (one writer, five
>products) to produce these types of documents in HTML and print, but I
>was told to find out this information anyway and let the senior
>management decide what to do with the info.
>Thanks in advance for your comments!
>Karen Farrell
>Technical Writer
>GX Technology Corporation
>kmf -at- gxt -dot- com
>Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool. -Author Unknown
>From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000==

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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