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Seybold San Francisco 1995 and The Immediacy of The Web

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by Kass Johns (published January 1996, for WWWiz Magazine )

(This article was originally written in October 1995.)

I have recently returned from my annual Fall trek to the infamous Seybold Publishing Conference in San Francisco. This is where the biggest and brightest stars of the electronic publishing industry gather to converse on issues and exchange ideas on technology and the direction of publishing in the future.

HA! Yeah sure, that's what the brochures say, but we all know why we are really there--to party and schmooze! Nothing says great party more than thousands of computer-geeked out publishers! Whoa baby, count me in! Sure, the Shriners may have a reputation for partying naked, but you haven't lived until you have been in a room full of folks arguing the merits of print publishing versus online web publishing! Now, these guys really know a good time!

Anyway, there really was a tremendous amount of Web information at this year's Seybold conference. Sessions and exhibits seemed everywhere touting the need to become Web literate. This has always been the realm of print publishing, but the web exploded onto the Seybold scene this year in a big way. There were a few really kool products being shown. Adobe Systems (of Illustrator, Acrobat, PageMaker and Photoshop fame) have recently purchased Ceneca Systems for their two flagship products, PageMill and SiteMill. I sat through these demos. Way, way, way kool stuff there, Maynard!

I see PageMill doing to Web development what PageMaker did to desktop publishing-make it ubiquitous! Everybody will be doing web pages when PageMill ships! Oh oh! Of course, there is no sort of "bad-taste filter" that ships with PageMill to screen out the bad content and design from ever being uploaded to the web! With something this easy to use, I think that it literally screams for a "bad-taste filter!"

PageMill enables a user to create a web page right on the screen as you would see it in your browser online. By just placing your cursor and begin typing, you are automatically generating copy within your page. Then using drag & drop functionality, you can drag an image from your clipboard or Photoshop and drop it onto your page. It will automatically place it and convert it to GIF format for you! Same with links, drag the link from another page and it is automatically generated! With no HTML tagging and coding, this is way too easy! I love it! And for the first 99 days, Adobe will sell it for $99! I see everybody with a curiosity about the web getting this package!

SiteMill will enable a webmaster or administrator to rename files and cleanup on their sites. It will automatically rename links if you change a file name. It will display the incoming links and the outgoing links of pages on your site. It was pretty slick! This will be released in by Christmas for $495. Both of these Adobe products will be available for Macintosh first, other platforms to follow. They make fine companions to Acrobat for online publishing. Adobe can be contaced at http://www.adobe.com/

The other really neato thing I saw was HotJava from Sun. HotJava enables you to create what is called an "applet" within your web site. These are animations! You can have a tickertape run across the page with sports scores, stock market quotes, marketing information or whatever. Or normal animations can be placed on your page, rotating type characters, run-in headlines, rotating molecules, etc. The beauty is that these applets run across platforms and therefore can be seen by all. Of course, your browser has to be Java-capable and with the next revision, Netscape soon will be. Sun has released their own browsers for Java applets that run on all platforms, except Macintosh at this time.

But then again, I predict that just like 'blinking' became an instant fad, then the most hated feature of any page, I see some of that love/hate going on with Java animations. Well, whatever, I got a nice coffee mug out of the deal! <g> Sun can be contacted at http://java.sun.com/

So, back to the Seybold event itself. I am an active member of CompuServe's Publishing Forums . On these forums, you will find the who's who of the publishing professionals. Because so many of us strike up a great online friendship, we like to get together when situations (conferences and such) permit to meet face-to-face. This has been going on for years with the DTP Forum on CompuServe. I have hosted this big blowout for the last two years at the Seybold SF conference. There were 55 attendees at this year's dinner. We were to have dinner, give away door prizes, meet, gossip and have a general good time. The added bonus to this year's party was that John Rowntree from Scitex would be bringing the stuff so we could put a web page up immediately after the party for those CompuServe members (and others) who could not attend. They could be there by the virtual report-hot off the text editor!

Using an Apple QuickTake digital camera thoughout the evening, John snapped candid photos of the party. By the time the party began to wind down, the task of actually creating the page began with using a Macintosh PowerBook 520c (and a beta copy of PageMill). Many of us who had hung on that late, helped by sitting there and talking about other things. Hey, it was no problem, glad I could help! <g>

Others, along with John began work on the page itself. Now, you have to remember that this page was written and "designed" after a loooong evening of hearty partying and carousing! Spelling was not exactly our first priority!

Well, the whole thing was thrown together and uploaded within two hours of the dinner ending. While it was great fun to do, the neatest thing here was that it was a perfect, I mean perfect, demonstration of the immediacy of the web. We had a party. Some of our online friends from Australia and England could not attend, but they had a first hand report-with pictures within a couple of hours-there for all to see (and continue to see)! The official CompuServe Desktop Publishing Forum Dinner at Seybold SF 1995 has their page at http://www.scitex.com/seyboldsf/dtpdinner.html (There is even a picture of me there! Taken in a moment of really bad judgement! WWWiz's own Kare, also has her photo there.)

While this was no earth-shattering world event, this does demonstrate how quickly information can become available-for your perusal on your time. Yes, CNN will be there for the big events, but you are subject to their schedule. Maybe you don't have time to view the devastation of the latest disaster right now, but you know that on the web, it will be there later when your hectic life slows enough for you to view it at your pace. (BTW, CNN now has a web site at http://www.cnn.com/ )

I love having information available at my fingertips. It becomes so easy to just "look it up on the web." Local library card catalogs and databases? Nah! I have it all right here on my web, from the comfort of my very own desktop!

© Copyright 1996-2001 by Kass Johns, all rights reserved world wide.
The opinions and recommendations stated here are solely those of the author and are not the responsibility of anyone else. This is an independent publication not affiliated or otherwise associated with, sponsored by, or sanctioned by any vendor. We state here that we have used trademark names in this publication for editorial purposes only, with no intent to infringe on those trademarks. Permission is granted to copy this document for personal use only for *non-commercial* purposes, in electronic or printed form, provided that this copyright notice is not removed. This work may not be used on another Web site or online service, sold for profit, included within commercial works, or altered or changed in any way without the express written permission of the author.



© Copyright 1996-2001 v.7.5.00
Kass Johns
Technical Writer & Consultant to the Publishing & Telecommunications Industries
Colorado Springs, CO • www.kassj.com • 719/635-1306 (vc)
kass at kassj dot com

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