Portability is the biggest concern with document transferals, because it is trying to maintain a documents visual integrity despite using different computer platforms (like having an IBM/clone document to be used on a workstation or Mac or vice versa), the original application is not present (using a certain program and loading it onto another document program), and if the original fonts and/or graphics are not available (if a certain machine has these capabilities or not, what does it do?). Some examples of this problems are with the WordPerfect importing problems of WP dos files into WP windows files, the TCL reader installed on the University's Sun systems and the ghostview document reader.
Word perfect 6.0 (not the new revised 6.0a) have a big problem with converting dos 5.0 and 5.1 version files to the new Windows version. Some problems ended up being the font would squish together and basically only see the bottom half of the courier font when shown on the screen, and with some special characters added, it would also mess up the printing, printing more pages, and the pages would have weird and bizarre characters. The Suns TCL reader for Computer Science 481 classes is an example of a document style that was made for print pages and not online reading. The font type is very small and hard to read, and options available are very scarce, a zoom in/out function is one that is much needed with that system. Ghostview is a document reader for the sun workstations, but has very limited functions. First off, you cannot edit the file, however, the user can search for text. Some applications for portable documents are with online help for windows based programs, infobases (such as online brochures, and documentation) and internet documents (which use postscript fonts).
Online documentation are electronically stored information and the tools to effectively access this information. These are not paper documents scanned or retyped onto the computer. These documents are written specifically for access on by means of a computer terminal. Some of the benefits with online documentation are that it bypasses printing. It omits a trip to the printing companies to make multiple copies, and since you can store the documentation on disks or CD-ROM, the costs are minimized and man power. Also, the documentation is distributed electronically. Users can easily download the information they need as well, it can be updated easily over the networks. As well, the information is packaged to the product, so manuals don't get lost (although, online documentation does not replace manuals, just enhanced).
With the advent of the internet and World Wide Web, text documents with the advent of hypertext can greatly help a person with the ease of accessing information. Hypertext is when you link a document or a medium to text or pictures from another document. Hypertext can gather information from various locations and mediums and place them into a form or several forms (with the aid of hyperlinks) to make the information more readable and intriguing. Hypertext is used to create links between related subjects and to make it easy to navigate topics and other related sources. Two such methods used on the internet and WWWs are Hypertext Documents (HTML documents) and Standard Generalized documents (SGML documents). Each are markup languages to formally describe information. Each display information of different forms with the use of tags. HTML is a subset of SGML, as both are formatted like a tree structure, where each section is a style type and offers a standard to describe the structure and manages the content of any digital document across multiple platform. However, HTML is less formal and strict in its forms. HTML is used for internet home pages and SGML are used to create complex documents to be shared across a corporation or industry. As well, SGML can do links dynamically as HTML cannot. If a user have a link to a document to another web site and the person on that web site changes its location, with HTML, the user must change the information in the HTML document to the new location of the file, while with SGML, it is done automatically.