Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 3rd Dec 2012 18:52 UTC
In the News News Corp. has just announced its iPad-only newspaper The Daily will be closed down. What do you know, a platform-specific publication fails in the internet era. I totally did not see this coming at all. Times are changing, people. Platform-specific is so 2007.
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RE[4]: Almost completely wrong
by Laurence on Tue 4th Dec 2012 12:55 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Almost completely wrong"
Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

they've been trying to support Android for a year

I really don't get the point of "supporting a platform" for publishing purposes altogether. Isn't there such thing as PDF (Portable Document Format). That's it - platform issues solved. Sometimes people really jump over their heads to create imaginary problems for themselves.


The "portable" in PDF doesn't mean "portable" in the context you're describing.

PDF used to be a closed format (and even now, it's still proprietary). The point of PDFs wasn't that they could be read by any device. The point was a document format that would retain it's exact formatting when migrated from platform to platform (which used to be a major problem for the press industry). Thus PDFs would embed fonts and do other such tricks which, back then, were less common. It meant that rendered documents would be as "portable" as a printed page with it's formatting retained (which was the point; so that mastered documents could be shared).

This is also why PDFs are typically considered read only (they're not, you can get editors, but the point of PDFs was they're the finalised product so were not designed to be edited) and why PDFs aren't always great for accessibility (eg text doesn't wrap when zooming, like in HTML).

"Portable" in the context you're using would better served with open specifications, which I know PDF technically is these days, but the accessibility features alone makes HTML a better fit.

In fact, HTML may have many sins these days with people building entire "web apps" and such like. But the primary goal of HTML was an open document mark up for distributing text-based content; which is precisely the specification for a newspaper. So despite HTML's many faults, I genuinely cannot think of a better format to encode such publications.

Edited 2012-12-04 13:00 UTC

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