Word2000 supports real line-art on web pages!

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jmd

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Jun 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/17/99
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Exciting news --

All of a sudden, you can put line art on web pages without loss of quality!

Word 2000 and Powerpoint2000 have built-in support for VML, Microsoft's
Vector Markup language that is also supported by Internet Explorer 4 and 5.
In programmer-speak, VML is a subset of XML, and the new Microsoft programs
generate really good XML/VML web pages. What does this mean for a web page
designer?

I'm a tech writer in San Diego, with a prior background in print
advertising. I want absolute control over image placement, line spacing,
letter spacing -- and I want to put technical illustrations on the internet
in vector format (line art, not bitmaps!). The new Microsoft programs let
you import a .WMF illustration, and then make a web page that keeps the WMF
vector quality intact when printed from Internet Explorer to paper. WMF
files can be made from any illustration program, like Corel, and also from
Autocad or Pro-Engineer.

They work differently. Word2000 creates absolutely-sized web pages. What you
design is what displays. Word2000 web pages view and print correctly from
Internet Explorer 4 and 5.

Powerpoint2000 scales the web page -- type and images -- as the user changes
the browser window size. Problems printing from Powerpoint -- spits out
extra sheets of paper. But am using beta-version.

Both Word2000 and Powerpoint2000 use the same drawing tools. Boxes, arrows,
lines, circles, all sorts of shapes. When you make the document into a web
page, all these drawing shapes are converted into VML code. This lets you
create graphics without having to import and download bitmaps! This is a
real joy -- saves so much time both creating and viewing. The drawing
objects can have gradient fills, and can have overlay transparency --
(displays OK in IE4/5, but doesn't print properly).

Browser compatibility -- no. Microsoft is now supporting major parts of the
W3C XML, XSL, and CSS2 web standards, and Netscape (through version 4)
doesn't.

At work, I have to design pages that also display in Netscape 4, and that
means tables and a lot of design compromises. But at least now I'll be able
to make links to technical illustration pages and to other very-highly
formatted pages (with a note to the viewer to go get IE5).

If there are replies to this, I will post more notes on how to get the most
out of the new MS products, with reports on their idiosyncracies, bugs, etc.
Let me know if you are interested.

Jon...@yahoo.com

Joe Crawford

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Jun 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/18/99
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(I'm getting a sense of deja vu from your post)

"jmd" <jon...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> All of a sudden, you can put line art on web pages without loss of quality!

I could have done that with the Flash Plugin. The Flash format has been
around for years. Is now an publicly available spec. Is available for
browsers from IE3 and up, NN 3 and up, MacOS, Windows95.98.NT, WebTV, and
Linux. There are also ports to BeOS and other unices in development.

> Word 2000 and Powerpoint2000 have built-in support for VML, Microsoft's
> Vector Markup language that is also supported by Internet Explorer 4 and 5.
> In programmer-speak, VML is a subset of XML, and the new Microsoft programs
> generate really good XML/VML web pages. What does this mean for a web page
> designer?

The MS implementation of XML in IE5 has been very roundly criticized by
the folks who know XML space. MS appears to be using their "first
commercial browser with XML support" as part of their "embrace and extend"
campiagn. :-\

> I'm a tech writer in San Diego, with a prior background in print
> advertising. I want absolute control over image placement, line spacing,
> letter spacing -- and I want to put technical illustrations on the internet
> in vector format (line art, not bitmaps!).

Again - Flash would be a great way to do this - with improved compatibility.

> The new Microsoft programs let
> you import a .WMF illustration, and then make a web page that keeps the WMF
> vector quality intact when printed from Internet Explorer to paper. WMF
> files can be made from any illustration program, like Corel, and also from
> Autocad or Pro-Engineer.

Flash files, with their open spec, could also be used for this purpose.

> They work differently. Word2000 creates absolutely-sized web pages. What you
> design is what displays. Word2000 web pages view and print correctly from
> Internet Explorer 4 and 5.

And what about backwards compatibility? What about the Mac? What about
Unix? What about Palm? What about future devices? These are not trivial
questions. Admittedly, though, for an intranet this would be a boon -
lotsa IT types have put too many eggs in the MS basket. What I ask is -
what about the future?

> Powerpoint2000 scales the web page -- type and images -- as the user changes
> the browser window size. Problems printing from Powerpoint -- spits out
> extra sheets of paper. But am using beta-version.

Flash has had the capability to have content scale to the size of the
browser since it was only FutureSplash - that's what? 3 years? I do like
the fact that this is text based markup .. rather than a binary format,
but I was under the impression that the SVG spec would do what this is
doing. :-\

> Both Word2000 and Powerpoint2000 use the same drawing tools. Boxes, arrows,
> lines, circles, all sorts of shapes. When you make the document into a web
> page, all these drawing shapes are converted into VML code. This lets you
> create graphics without having to import and download bitmaps! This is a
> real joy -- saves so much time both creating and viewing. The drawing
> objects can have gradient fills, and can have overlay transparency --
> (displays OK in IE4/5, but doesn't print properly).
>
> Browser compatibility -- no. Microsoft is now supporting major parts of the
> W3C XML, XSL, and CSS2 web standards, and Netscape (through version 4)
> doesn't.

You forgot SVG. The W3C *has* in fact thought about vector graphics
architectures. Too bad Microsoft ignored all that work. Then again -
they're still not completely complying with established W3C standards
anyway - so this is nothing new. You'll pardon me if I don't get too
excited about the new features of IE5.

> At work, I have to design pages that also display in Netscape 4, and that
> means tables and a lot of design compromises. But at least now I'll be able
> to make links to technical illustration pages and to other very-highly
> formatted pages (with a note to the viewer to go get IE5).

Wonderful for your uses - but what about those of us who would like to
appeal to more than just IE5 users?

> If there are replies to this, I will post more notes on how to get the most
> out of the new MS products, with reports on their idiosyncracies, bugs, etc.
> Let me know if you are interested.

I read it with great interest. Perhaps IE5 and Office 2000 will change the
world. Indeed I have a great fear that they might. Just don't tell me it's
a better world.

For further reading:

W3C: Scalable Vector Graphics Format:
http://www.w3.org/Graphics/SVG/

Microsoft's VML:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/standards/vml/

Best,
Joe
_________________________________________________________
Joe Crawford { ArtLung }___________mailto:j...@artlung.com
Web Designer + Integrator__________http://www.artlung.com
Respiratory Therapist (Ret.)_______San Diego . CA . USA
San Diego WWW'er? See http://www.artlung.com/websandiego/
> Jon...@yahoo.com

david herzog

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Jul 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/28/99
to jmd
dear jmd,

thank you very much for this info.
in our firm we just got an update from microsoft for the year 2000 problem
in windows98 ;-) got it?

NEVER publish by MS !!
----AND DO NOT SPAM !!
___
dah

___________________________________________________________
break the logic of war! desert! fight the borders!
see http://www.contrast.org/borders
___________________________________________________________

- es gibt nichts gutes, ausser man tut es -
- checkdas: http://www.stylepolice.de -
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