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Re: .doc file concerns

From: Greg A. Woods
Subject: Re: .doc file concerns
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2001 20:12:09 -0400 (EDT)

[ On Tuesday, June 26, 2001 at 16:13:38 (-0700), Paul Sander wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: .doc file concerns
> The thing is, most writers seem to prefer WYSIWYG editors such as Word or 
> Frame
> Maker to using mark-up languages.  This is reasonable, because they're much 
> more
> productive with such tools, especially since they're much more concerned with
> an attractive presentation than are engineers who happen to write simple 
> documents.

Is that really true?  I've seen studies (I wish I could find the
references again) that suggest exactly the opposite -- i.e. that writers
and editors are far more productive when they don't use WYSIWYG editors,
particularly big complex behemoths like M$-Word or FrameMaker.

Certainly the learning curve is far less steep and the point were decent
productivity is reached is far far far sooner.

Now I won't begrudge anyone the utility of having at least a half-decent
on-line previewer, but with it only takes about two minutes hacking to
get a nearly integrated preview tool with Emacs+lout+ghostview, and even
without integration it's still trivial to use such tools separately to
the same end.

(Of course some markup languages are rather gargantuan too, which is one
reason I've always avoided LaTeX and when using TeX I've only ever used
PlainTeX and TeXinfo.)

> Choosing an inferior tool just because the version control system can't handle
> a full-featured one is a poor way to work.

Choosing an inferior tool just because it looks pretty and claims a
zillion more features than any normal human being would ever use in a
lifetime seems to be an unfortunate trap far too many people fall into
these days.

(FrameMaker will, IIRC, create reasonably consistent text-based storage
files that are reasonably well suited for storage in CVS.)

                                                        Greg A. Woods

+1 416 218-0098      VE3TCP      <address@hidden>     <address@hidden>
Planix, Inc. <address@hidden>;   Secrets of the Weird <address@hidden>

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