[ntp:questions] Re: Latest changes toTWikiGettingStarted

David Woolley david at djwhome.demon.co.uk
Wed Oct 8 06:22:46 UTC 2003

In article <m3r81p40h5.fsf at coyote.llan.ll.mit.edu>,
Peter Boettcher <boettcher at ll.mit.edu> wrote:

> and helpful nonetheless.  Again, I agree that HTML is not a good
> source format for conversions to other formats.  You'd like something
> that logically marks up the text.  But HTML is what we've got, and I

If you are using HTML for anything other than logically marking up the
text, you, like most of the world, are abusing it.  It's main limitation
is that it was originally designed to be easy to learn by secretaries,
etc., so it only has the most common document structures.  If one wants
deeper structure, one should use a more sophisticated markup language, as
master, and convert to HTML, or, at least, use class attributes on the
closest match element type (span only as a last resort) to refine the

(Even, otherwise very intelligent people seem to have problems with
marking up true document structures.)

Generally, for basic installation, I would prefer plain text.

For a mass market, you unfortunately need to dumb down the documentation,
and make it a set of steps that can be performed in seqeuence without
any understanding and little thought.  That sort of process results in
everybody using the same servers.  HTML, in its intended role as a
structural hypertext language, is not flat enough for that mass market,
although it might be useful in its abused role as a poor man's page
description language.

People who could make use of true hypertext documentation are generally a
lot more computer literate than the average home user and many small
to medium size company system administrators.

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