Fred A Levy Haskell (fredcritter) wrote,
Fred A Levy Haskell
fredcritter

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Marketing Departments and Computer Software Manuals

So I'm researching using InDesign to create a document which will be published in both pdf and html. I, of course, want to know not just whether and how, but also how well … and, you know, perhaps a few details about some logical questions/concerns. So I'm reading the splendiferous InDesign User Manual. It helpfully points out that with the Documents option within the Export HTML dialog box, I can choose either to 1) Export as a Single HTML Document (thus creating a single HTML file from the specified page, range of pages, or whole document) or to 2) Export as Multiple HTML Documents (which creates individual HTML files for each page in the document, etc.). This is a good thing — I probably wouldn't have thought about the fact that I don't want my 400+ page document to be presented as a single HTML page until I got to the Export to HTML point of the process.

However, why doesn't it go on to discuss the next obvious question: Is there a way I can set up my document so that each HTML page automatically contains hyperlinks to the next and previous page (perhaps by placing on the Master Page a special "previous" and "next" marker, just as it contains a special page-number marker for specifying the style and location of the automatic page number)? Is it because it can't and I'll need to manually adjust each HTML page? Because didn't want to make the User Guide overly thick and confusing? Or maybe they wanted to ensure a market for third-party manual writers.

Come to think of it, much of the manual reads as if it was written, or at least rewritten, by the Adobe marketing department. You know, lots of "you can" and "it's easy to." Here's a good one: "Exporting a document to HTML can be as simple as using the default settings, or as customized as you need it to be."

Why, oh why, didn't they just make it as complete as humanly possible? If it then appeared too daunting or scary, they could have written on the cover, in big friendly blue letters, the legend:

DON'T PANIC

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