Electronic Publishing -- SIMS 290
Dale Dougherty

Key Technology Trends

We're going to look at how three somewhat disjunct technology trends have shaped electronic publishing.

Desktop Publishing

Key Technologies

Macintosh Bit-mapped Display

The Graphical User Interface (GUI)

Laser Printers

Page Description Languages (PostScript)

Page Layout Programs

Apple, Adobe and Aldus

Three companies shaped desktop publishing, which might have been more appropriately called desktop production.


Apple commercialized several different research technologies and in doing so developed a new market for its Macintosh, which was released in 1984.

The Apple LaserWriter, which may be as important as the Macintosh, was released in 1985. First ones cost $17,000.

Adobe and PostScript

Founded in 1982 by John Warnock, a Xerox Parc researcher who had worked on laser printers and page description languages.


Aldus and Pagemaker

Page layout

The killer app of desktop publishing: What You See is What You Get (WYSIWYG)

Later acquired by Adobe, Aldus retreated from its prominence -- Quark Xpress came to be the leading professional page layout solution.



Desktop Publishing

Automates the process of publishing: editing, layout and typesetting of publications.

Results in lower production costs.

Reduces the time-to-market by eliminating steps in the production process.

Enables any organization and any individual to create high quality publications.

The Product is print; the by-product is that information now exists electronically.

Problems in Desktop Publishing

Information Interchange


Multimedia and CD-ROM


A large capacity distribution medium in search of mixed-media content.

Microsoft a big supporter, primarily viewing it as a means for "bloatware" distribution.

A packaged product that blurs the line between software and "content."


The most popular and practical implementation of hypermedia


Other Hypermedia Systems

Owl's Guide



Macromedia's Director became the high-end authoring tool for CD-ROM development. A lot like HyperCard but more powerful and complex to learn.

Lingo programming language like HyperTalk

Key Multimedia Applications


Beethoven's Ninth

Music, Art, Literature




Cinemania, Encarta





Family Tree Maker



Productivity applications

Broderbund has not been successful with "information" or "content" on CD other than games.

Doug Carlson, CEO of Broderbund, described a productivity application as one where the user adds the value by contributing his or her own information. (Family Tree).

Corporate Publishing Applications on CD

Defense Industry

Aircraft Maintenance Manuals

Fostered development of highly specialized, high-end "industrial" hypermedia software tools.

CD-ROM Issues

Convergence of imaging, animation, audio and video technologies, while ongoing difficulty in standards and interoperability.

Content unavailable outside of proprietary program; programs dedicated to one body of content.

Biggest success in games and educational software.

High production costs for consumer products. Projects began to look more like "Hollywood" movie projects and not meet with success. (12-18 months of effort; $5-10 million budget.)

Difficulty of developing distribution channels

Also, UNIX

UNIX was unintentionally the anti-GUI.

Included tools for program development environment and text processing.

A philosophy of building small tools

Fostered a "hacker" development culture.

Internet and the Web


A simple protocol, a simple device-independent data format and a straightforward global addressing system.


The data now exists outside of the browser software required to access and display it; allows other programs besides browsers to access it.

URL -- Uniform Resource Locators.

Tim Berners-Lee key insight was a distributed hypertext system that did not have to know in advance whether a link reference could be resolved.

Disjunct Developments

It's interesting how separate these developments are.

The people and the companies which shaped these developments were starting new directions, deciding that what was essential involved ignoring much of what was there.

Also, those companies heavily invested in one remain skeptical that "the next thing" was real.

For instance, desktop publishing required a fine degree of control over presentation whereas the Web could live with a much cruder level of presentation.