From: Alex.Hopmann@resnova.com Message-Id: <199410310240.SAA28687@nic.cerf.net> Date: Sat, 29 Oct 1994 00:02:22 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: RE:More thoughts In article of 7:44 PM 10/26/94, Brian Behlendorf <email@example.com writes: >I've taught many *many* nontechnical people how to use HTML. All seemed >perfectly capable of understanding the importance of semantic markup when >explained to them. They also understand that we're not saying Brian, Let me see if I can try an example of "real world" use of semantic markup that seems to be getting alot of use. Then I'll try to reach some conclusions. Microsoft Word: Microsoft Word has lots of ways to let you format documents. You can use styles, which can be very easily used to create powerfully formatted flexible documents. You can also do careless character formatting. Most Word powerusers that I know use styles most of the time, especially when doing something important, difficult, lengthy, etc. Note: This is even in a situation where the output is often on paper, which makes the task of Word much easier. Once it is output Word doesn't need to worry about someone else changing its documents. But these Word powerusers know that they will need to change the styles later, or else its just easier to use them in the first place. Then we have a whole bunch of people who I would not call Word powerusers. To be most specific, I will use my parents as an example (BTW, they are both Professors with PhD's, etc.) They have both by now figured out to use tabs at the beginning of paragraphs instead of spaces. But judging from the Microsoft Word documentation (which I have just been looking at today), it seems like there must be alot of Microsoft Word users who are trying to get over the "spaces vs. tabs" hurdle. What does all this mean? It means, we NEED to provide powerful tools so that people can do semantic markup (tools like HTML). I disagree with those who claim that we should just use Postscript or something else because I understand the power of semantic markup. I just think that in trying to provide a user interface that allows people to easily create hypertext documents (including "pages", newsgroup "posts", and "mail"... All of these can and should contain hypertext AND semantic markup), we find ourselves providing users with WYSIWYG editors. And I must admit that for better or worse I feel that people expect Word when they think editor. This provides us a good model that includes semantic styles, but people also expect that they can use a font menu. Our competition has fonts in their email. Our previous version has fonts in our email. Now that we are giving users the capability to use the power of HTML in their email (And everywhere else), whether you like it or not, I can't remove the power to set the font. I can educate users that the font might not be displayed correctly (But I need to make sure my software gives its best effort). I can try to educate users about the advantages of semantic markup. But I can't limit their choices. >Implementation decisions based on the self-proscribed needs of >self-admittedly "naive users" by those Who Should Know Better is >inexcusable. Maybe. Unfortunatelly we have recently decided that we need a Microsoft Windows version of our software. I thought that the Macintosh was better, I still do (Although Windows NT as a development environment is looking pretty cool right now), but unfortunatelly 80% of the marketplace disagreed with me, is running Windows 3.1, and is enduring AUTOEXEC.BAT hell in order to try to save $50 and have compadiblity with some stupid mythical program they will never run. Now you may (and probably do) disagree with me on the Mac vs. Windows 3.1 issue (Speaking to the general public. I have visited Wired and they have mostly Macs, although that doesn't necessarily represent Brian's views). But whatever platform you buy, I want to provide a program for you thats easy to use, powerful, and easy to install. I want to do my best. I feel that it is inevitable that some of this stuff is going to get used on the web. Lets standardize it. Alex Hopmann ResNova Software, Inc.