RE: Proving an MS standard

Subject: RE: Proving an MS standard
From: "Brierley, Sean" <Sean -at- Quodata -dot- Com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 10:19:59 -0500

I misunderstood, too. I thought the lack of a TOC or index was being
attributed to the use of HTML. You can have these things with HTML.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Scott Turner [SMTP:sturner -at- airmail -dot- net]
> >At 1:38 PM -0800 2/14/2001, Scott Turner wrote:
> >>The real problem is that there is no table of contents, there is no
> >>index. You cannot effectively search the book. A real reason not to
> >>use HTML for online documentation.
> >
> >What relationship are you trying to draw between "lacks a TOC or index"
> and
> >"presented in HTML"? Surely you're not suggesting either that a printed
> or
> >PDF book could not lack these necessary features, or that a set of HTML
> >documents could not have them?
> My point is that the site does not have them. I was informed that
> with Microsoft IE you can search a library.
> My POINT is that the requirement of a specific browser,
This depends what you are talking about. Often, TOCs in HTML use JavaScript
or Applets that work with all browsers. If you refer to Microsoft's
proprietary HTML Help format, your thinking is off. MS HTML Help is a
compiled format and has the extension CHM. This is a replacement for
WinHelp, HLP. WinHelp was proprietary. WinHelp only worked in Windows. And,
WinHelp used a specific viewer, just as CHMs use a specific viewer: I.E.

> the lack of
> cross-references in the current offering is exactly what I said, less
> than effective. The offering that Microsoft has given on thier site
> it technically correct but not useful unless you use thier product,
> and/or are willing to sit and scan file after file for information.
So why not use their product if it helps you get what you need?

> Isn't that what is commonly lambasted on this list? The lack of
> precise and helpful organization and format?
It depends . . . I would suggest that MS concluded their audience was
Microsoft users likely to be using Microsoft tools and therefore targeted

that audience. If they missed with you, that is their bad, yes.

> Microsoft did not spend enough effort to ensure that the information,
> in the format that they provided, was useful and easy to extract
> information.
> I have monitored this list long enough to know that when technical
> writers encounter this sort of shoddy work, they are very vocal
> revealing it. Am I to be corrected or brought to task simply because
> the owner of the information is Microsoft?
> I beg to differ.
I read that you wrote this:

>>The real problem is that there is no table of contents, there is
>>index. You cannot effectively search the book. A real reason not
>>use HTML for online documentation.

To me, and others, that seemed to indicate you were linking a lack of a TOC
and index to the HTML format. This conclusion has nothing to do with
Microsoft or your disdain for Microsoft.


sean -at- quodata -dot- com

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