Barriers • 17 December 2007 • The SnowBlog
Can you imagine writing a novel if you had to do all your edits and corrections by crossing something through and writing it out again with a pen? Can you imagine (or remember) producing photo-ready artwork for illustrated books and then physically cutting and pasting with actual cuts and actual paste in order to get your book ready to print? They used to be the only ways and now that's all vanished. It must have been an awful, colossal pain and it certainly had the effect of making sure that the contents of books stayed where you put them. It took a lot of effort to propagate words and pictures. But now that layouts are done with clicks, and editing is so easy that you can think about the words not what your hands are doing, it's easy to blur the distinction between books, magazines, online articles and other people's websites. For part of every book's life, all of its words and pictures and layout are just ones-and-zeroes. In theory, they could go anywhere next. There's no such thing as book text as compared with online text. It's all electronic, at least while it's being prepared. So I was wondering if anyone out there does unusual things with their book files. Do any of you use DocBook or DITA? Do you do clever things in FrameMaker instead of InDesign/Quark? I'm sure Salt do. Does anyone else?