Re: question and answer, style guide?

Edward Vielmetti (
Mon, 02 Nov 92 16:13:40 EST

> Sounds like somone ought to be buying you a workstation for Christmas :-)
> But I realize that users tend not to use/have X, even now.

The vast majority of users on the
Internet have dialin or tty based accounts, and I do not see this trend
changing in the forseeable future. Any tool which assumes *anything*
about the hardware resources of the user is (IMHO) a bad thing.

Then we should be all be designing things that are delivered on paper,
because the vast majority of potential users of the internet in the
next few years are not going to have any network at all or any
hardware at all on which to display user or tutorial or reference

W3 is actually as good a first step as any in this direction. Since
the markup is (at least one step toward) SGML, it is possible to
create documents that are usable within W3 that actually look nice on
paper. That's a big step forward. I am not sure yet whether you can
design something that's optimally designed for a 24x80 ascii screen
and also for paper (probably not) but at least it'll be usable in both


You all should take a look at news:comp.text.sgml, in particular, which is a trip report by
Charles Sperberg-McQueen on the SGML '92 conference. Here is an
enlightening perspective on the various roles that tool-builders play
in the publication efforts (are you a scribe, rubricator, or

Moving to his main theme, Goldfarb proclaimed the death of the
"document", which he said may in fact never have been anything more than
a makeshift to enable the use of computer technology. The future of
SGML lies in its use to link both within and between documents. The
future of SGML, that is, is HyTime. He showed medieval pages (from the
Winchester Bible) and discussed the division of labor among scribes,
rubricators, illuminators, and applicators of gold leaf, which
corresponds closely to the division of labor, in presenting a hypermedia
document today, among the text displayer, the graphics presentation
software, and other specialized modules. Hypertext schemes today differ
from the methods of the past only in incorporating time-based
information. The data structure must be highly optimized to make
possible real-time presentation of time-based data, but logically
speaking, all that is required are mechanisms for establishing
(specifying) synchrony among events. SGML provides a firm basis for
representing the abstract information structures needed.

Edward Vielmetti, vice president for research, Msen Inc.
Msen Inc., 628 Brooks, Ann Arbor MI 48103 +1 313 998 GLOB