Re: PDF vs Markup Languages

From: Tony Barry <tonyb_at_NETINFO.COM.AU>
Date: Sat, 12 Sep 1998 10:09:41 +1000

At 3:29 PM 1998/09/09, Arthur Smith wrote:
>But we also need machine-comprehensible versions of texts, in order to
>populate databases, provide search capabilities, and the like, and SGML
>is probably ideal for that. The two formats (PDF and SGML) fill different
>needs (human and machine readable texts) and their successors in future
>will likely have at least these two functions to perform. In some cases
>the human-readable version will be the authoritative one, and the
>one derived from it (by human-supervised OCR etc), in some cases it
>will be the other way around, and in some cases both will be considered
>authoritative for their distinct purposes. But it's not a matter of
>one being preferable to another - both are essential now and for the
>foreseeable future.

XML with stylesheets will be able to give both. Object based text which can
be manipulated in databases and formatted for output for display using the
publishers set of styles or those prefered by the reader.

However in the debate on which format to use we must not forget dynamic
content which would have such utility in publications on many subjects. -
For instance server side includes, embedded mathematical models where the
reader could input their own data, dynamic three dimensional models which
allow a molecular model or archeological scene to be traversed and viewed
at different angles.

Electronic publishing is a much richer format than print as it lets us get
away from static text. On one occasion I wrote a paper concerning this and
included an interactive form to seak reader comments as a simple example.


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Received on Tue Aug 25 1998 - 19:17:43 BST

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