Re: Suggestion for HTML Text Format Elements

Scott E. Preece (
Wed, 5 Jul 95 11:52:06 EDT

Amanda Walker writes:

| > what I think we're going to get is pictures of information...

| .. which is *another thing* that the world really needs.

I didn't really mean to say we don't need something like Acrobat,
because we clearly do. My fear is that content providers coming in with
WYSIWYG DTP skills will be inclined to say "Hey, with Acrobat output I
can use the same tools I had been and get a document that looks just the
way I want it to and now the Web supports it, so now I don't need to learn
HTML to be a good Web citizen." And the resulting documents will lose
all their internal structure and will be much less useful (for
searching, inclusion, and use by other tools) than they would have been
if they had been appropriately marked up.

| I'm a great fan of SGML as a means for doing markup--it's great.  However,
| not all problems are solved by marked up text.

No, but it solves the vast bulk of problems for the kinds of conventional documents most people are creating. You cannot over-emphasize the advantage of providing a means for authors to assign semantic information to the elements of the documents they create. My opinion is biased by having spent a lot of time helping people take existing machine-readable information and transform it (usually at great cost and with less-than-complete success) into structured information that they needed to support other uses.

I'm just afraid that, just at the point where it looked like we might be building sufficient user needs to drive development of tools that would make designing and capturing structured information approachable for a wide range of users, that critical mass is going to be diverted by the apparent simplicity of using tools that produce Acrobat.


scott preece
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