hedley.finger at myob.com wrote:

> Marcus, Marcus, Marcus:

Hedley, Hedley, Hedley... :-)

> I'm surprised that you of all people should associate functionality
> with presentation.  It's a bit similar to separating format from
> content.   8^)  And I'm surprised that you equate indexes only with
> hardcopy.

My point was more that the plugins reflect improvements to the current 
paradigms, as dictated by the application. It's circular, so 
improvements strike me as tinkering at the edge. Take indexes for 
example - we work through and judiciously mark up occurrences of words 
to appear in an index. The decision as to whether a particular 
occurrence of a word is significant is pretty much based on the current 
view of the data, or configuration of the document, or whatever you 
might want to call it.

What if the fragment of information containing an index marker is pulled 
together with other fragments into a new document? Is that index entry 
still relevant? A more useful approach would be to dynamically index 
once the fragments had been assembled. The results aren't likely to be 
any worse than than just trusting the indexing designed for a different 

So would it be better for Adobe to incorporate the plugin, or to try to 
fix the problem? Maybe both in this particular case, but do you get my 
drift? Adobe following users who are following FrameMaker isn't really 
the path to longevity.

> I was trying to make the point that when there are a bunch of plugins
> to support indexing (= data entry), Adobe should get the message --
> that the indexing functionality in FrameMaker sucks.

I didn't say that it didn't suck, I just think that making it suck less 
at one point in the process isn't really going to work for too long.

> And hardcopy isn't dead.  If you and I are like other people, how
> many times do we print out a help topic or web page to read it?

We have just completed a publishing system for a federal government 
department. It includes hardcopy publication, website and PDAs. They 
used to print and distribute 10,000 hardcopies per release. Since the 
website went live on December 1, the demand has dropped to 1000. In six 
months, it could be down to a couple of hundred. In another year or so, 
the production of hardcopy is scheduled to cease. Hardcopy is as dead as 
a doornail. Never again will as much hardcopy be produced as was 
produced today - you can say that with confidence every morning.

> And in the wonderful world of personalised content that adapts to the
> custom product you have ordered, the country you are in, the access
> privileges you have, and the set of topics you have chosen to print, 
> wouldn't it be wonderful if you have chosen to print out your own 
> personalised workshop manual for your custom 2009 Turbo Tarburner
> with optional hydrogen fuel cell and electric motor (as against the
> standard biodiesel motor), racing slicks, two-tone duco and hard-top
> convertible four-door.  And of course this personalised manual would
> come with its own custom index. When your head is under the bonnet, 
> Google doesn't work too well with your Haynes repair manual..

So there I am, with my head under the bonnet of a piece of machinery 
filled with computers and with a suitable power supply - why wouldn't I 
just have a screen mounted on the inside of the bonnet? The other 
computers in my car could further shape my manual, providing information 
based on diagnostics and rectification procedures. Of course all of 
those permutations could be accounted for in the hardcopy too, but then 
I'd have to have my Tarburner fitted with the optional tow bar so I 
could pull the trailer containing my manuals...

Indexing in this case would be dynamic and would be performed by 
combining the information and the circumstances. Why do I need to know 
where the most significant occurrence of "hydrogen fuel cell" is when my 
car has pointed me to the correct repair procedure?


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