Re: DSSSL and WYSIWYG Editing

Paul Prescod wrote:

> Terry Crowley wrote:
> > >  In these cases, WYSIWYG would make the interface harder to
> navigate and
> > >  harder to use. In the long run I expect WYSIWYG to gradually
> become less
> > >  and less interesting. Graphical views of documents are
> important, but
> > >  views that are exactly the same as readers are not really so
> important.
> >
> > Wow.  Better put a huge caveat on the above statements.  Whose
> your target
> > user?
> My target user is everybody. Over the long run I expect everybody to
> become a full or part-time word processor user. Since children start
> using them in primary school these days I would expect them to be
> proficient by high school. At that point I expect them to be taught
> more
> advanced document navigation techniques as part of their typing
> classes
> (or *instead of* their typing classes, which will have migrated to
> primary school) and their English classes.
> > Sure, if it's someone whose writing content all day where the
> ability to
> > control layout easily for the document as a whole is important,
> the stylesheet
> > view is important.  For the other 99% of users, they just want
> something that
> > easily allows them to achieve the effect they're trying to
> achieve.  Using a
> > stylesheet is like programming, and bottom line is that most users
> of composing
> > tools don't want to be programmers.  Using a stylesheet requires
> planning, and
> > most users don't want to plan.  They just want to write their
> content.
> Let me repeat that I don't see the flaws of WYSIWYG as having
> anything
> to do with stylesheets at all. WYSIWYG is simply not efficient to
> navigate and organize for many document structures, especially for
> hypertext documents. Since many users, even non-professionals,
> "live" in
> a word processor I expect them to prefer efficient navigational
> tools
> rather than inefficient ones. Thus graphical user interfaces will
> remain
> important but the WYSIWYGness will be secondary.

I find it interesting that you would assert that statement which is
contrary to the evolution of document generation tools over the last
decade. As computers and software has become more powerful, document
authoring tools have become more and more WYSIWYG. Sure some people want
to be able to edit in draft mode, but people now always have the option
of editing in full WYSIWYG mode. While the tech-doc market may require
function over form, the office-document market has moved in the opposite

IMHO, if DSSSL moves in a direction which precludes the ability to
easily and efficiently author in a WYSIWYG mode,  then I believe in is
unlikely to be adopted.

> > Draft
> > and preview modes in a word-processor are nothing like structure
> > view.  They're both WYSIWYG views with different trade-offs in
> resolution vs
> > paper fidelity.
> As soon as you "compromise paper fidelity" you are moving away from
> WYSIWYG. In Word for Windows "Normal" view I cannot see headers,
> footers, newspaper columns and some other layout features. In other
> words, it isn't really very WYSIWYG at all! That is a recognition
> that
> while I am writing my document I don't want to be distracted by
> those
> things. (Some) Generated content and (some) other advanced
> stylesheet
> features fall into the same category of things that I do not want to
> be
> distracted by.

True, these different modes are a compromise for people with limited
screen real-estate and limited processing power. However, in Page Layout
mode, the standard mode of operation for many users, headers and footers
are always displayed. For some generated content (such as a Table of
Contents) computers are too inefficient to effectively display WYSIWYG
documents. For scripted documents, which change the documents content or
structure, WYSIWYG may be inappropriate. However, for stylistic
documents, WYSIWYG is entirely approprate.

> > I absolutely agree that WYSIWYG views can make things much more
> difficult to
> > achieve and difficult for the user to understand (e.g. what's the
> feedback for
> > an arbitrary DIV in a WYSIWYG editor?  What are the operations for
> manipulating
> > content into or out of the DIV?).  But that's the price to pay.

There are ways to give users visual cues to changes in structure. For
example, section break is used in Word and a visual component can be
displayed if desired.

> That's the price to pay for what??? When the WYSIWYG view of a
> document
> is an efficient representation of it (which is the case for many
> simple
> documents) then it should be used. When it complicates the interface
> rather than simplifying it, WYSIWYG should be tossed, just like
> anything
> else.
>  Paul Prescod

I have been around long enough to remember when people said that images
could not  and should not be shown in a editor. They are too inefficient
and they get in the way.  Nor should we show different fonts, nor
multiple columns, nor fractional point fonts, headers, footer, etc.,
etc. Now, of course, these are standard features on modern word
processors. IMHO, this is a step forward, not a step backwards.

If you want different views of documents (draft, structured, hyperlinks
or otherwise) that's great. I think the word processors could provide a
better way to navigate through documents. Tools are evolving to give you
the power you want. However, I contend, that the move to WYSIWYG is not
only here to stay, but is evolving.

Greg Kostello

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