Re: hyperRTF?

Nathan Torkington <>
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 1994 23:51:36 +0200
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Precedence: bulk
From: Nathan Torkington <>
To: Multiple recipients of list <>
Subject: Re: hyperRTF?
X-Listprocessor-Version: 6.0c -- ListProcessor by Anastasios Kotsikonas
Chris Lilley, Computer Graphics Unit writes:

> In general, however, those who want to do page design want it AS
> WELL AS structure.

How wonderful for them.  Let me introduce you to something called
``styles''.  RTF has them.  HTML doesn't (yet).  RTF lets you apply a
label to a set of visual attributes and these then become like SGML
tags for your RTF text.  Those style labels can be used for semantic
indexing, just as SGML tags can be.

> Ha! and which Microsoft products will suport these extensions?

As another writer said, the Microsoft Help system is hypertext, and
the conversion program uses a similar system to the one I proposed to
convert RTF into a hypertextual proprietary format.  We would do away
with the proprietary format.

> RTF is an unstable proprietary standard. By unstable I mean poorly
> documented and often changed by its owners without informing the
> user base or the developer base.

Microsoft need to make any future version of RTF ``back-compatible''
with old programs, for one simple reason: they use it as an
interchange format, and there's sod all point in writing a document in
an interchange format that no other bugger can read.

> While a multi-platform viewer for some particular version of RTF is
> to be welcomed, in the same way that a multi-platform viewer for
> Quicktime was welcomed, it is not an appropriate substitute for

Nope, but it sounds good enough to sit beside HTML.  HTML (as
currently defined) is fine for simple tasks.  Real Document Preparers
hate HTML.  I know this, I've worked with them.  They want more
control over presentation (a-la HTML) and RTF gives them this without
sacrificing the ability to have semantic indexing, etc.

Yours in patience,