Re: <PAGE> proposal

Matthew James Marnell (
Sat, 23 Dec 1995 19:58:35 -0500

:> I question the idea that *HTML* has to be the "one-stop shopping" answer.

And I tend to agree. Though SGML and a good software package makes it
much easier to produce HTML, CD-ROM, and print material from the same
source. Heck, you even get the flexibility from LaTeX (well, pretty
close, and isn't it suppose to SGML copliant sooner or later?).

:Maybe you do, but it's going to evolve in that direction whether you want it
:to or not. The economic pressures to unify hypertext composition with paper
:composition are just too strong to resist, and Joe Publisher is *not* going
:to write DTDs. Instead, he'll shop around until he finds an HTML interpreter
:not written by a purist. And the market will supply one and pre-empt us.

A couple assumptions are being made here.

1) HTML will continue to be *the* paradigm for WWW publishing. (I hope
this is true but I don't bet on it.)
2) That publishers will embrace it for their publishing needs. (I highly
doubt this, as even with either presentation based tags or first
level CSS, it's not flexible enough for any publisher I know of,
although many systems allow easy conversion to HTML.

I don't even see anything remotely close to publishers adapting HTML as
*the* paradigm to publish by. Many companies, that have online HTML
mirroring their online help documents, still choose PS or PDF for their
print or printable documentation. Many companies ask their customers
whether they'd rather have HTML online docs, PDF or PS, and PDF and PS
still seem to win out.

:I've said this before and I'll keep saying it until everybody gets it. *We do
:not have a choice* about whether future HTML will do presentation control
:suitable for paper. It *will* happen. The only question is whether we will
:anticipate the pressure and develop a clean compromise with paper, or push
:the write-your-own-DTD purism, default the job to someone who doesn't care
:as much about medium-independence, and end up with ugly kluges.

It may happen and then again it may not. As someone who publishes, it
ain't even close to an option. Local printers here who will publish from
electronic media, will allow you to deliver content to them via PS/EPS,
PDF, and a couple desktop publishing packages. The Web isn't the be all
and end all in publishing, yet. I doubt it will be for big publishers
until bigger issues than background and font control in HTML get ironed out,
such as concerns about Intellectual Property law and Copyright Law WRT
the Internet get ironed out.

Clearly you even see the truth to this, even though you don't seem to
know it, in the fact that you think paper will live on. Of course paper
publishing will continue to live for quite some time to come. There are
many systems that publish on paper and convert easily to HTML.