W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > October to December 1998

Re: plain text has its points

From: Chris Kreussling <CHRIS.KREUSSLING@ny.frb.org>
Date: Mon, 07 Dec 1998 17:52:34 -0500
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-id: <s66c1672.011@ny.frb.org>
>>> <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org> 12/07 4:54 PM >>>
On the other hand, there is something to be said for the option of getting
large documents as a single html file vice a directory/folder of many
(linked) smaller html files.  Is this any kind of convention standard?

I've found that larger sites increasingly include a "printable" version of complex documents. This is often closer to plaintext than the Web version, the full-text of a multi-part document, or both. This is another "both/and" instead of an "either/or" situation. I want *both* the multi-part, segmented, layered and hyperlinked versoin, and the single, simple downloadable version.

When large, complex documents are available only as a single document they become unusuable for many purposes such as browsing, reference, and so on. Nesting and layering hide complexity until it's needed, and requested, by the reader. When I want to look up a specific datum residing within one huge document, I don't want the overhead of downloading, scrolling through and searching, and printing 100% of the information when I only need .1%.

On the other hand, I will often download and/or print documents that I intend to refer to later, or throw in my backpack and read on the subway. For this purpose - offline reference, browsing and reading - the single, simple page is often the better choice. I want the text, and only the text. And since I don't have the advantages of hyperlinks in print, I need all the text.

<author>Chris Kreussling</author> 
<disclaimer>The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System.</disclaimer>
Received on Monday, 7 December 1998 18:03:57 UTC

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