[Q] Word-processor to HTML converter?

Reinhard Doelz doelz
Sun Nov 13 03:55:13 EST 1994

Lachlan Cranswick (lachlan at dmp.csiro.au) wrote:

: I would also appreciate a discussion on
: how other people are converting existing scientific
: information and onto the WWW.  
: It is hard to see our scientists spending
: much time on this unless existing Word-Proccessor
: documents (with all the appropriate formatting 
: already present) could easily be converted into HTML.

I agree entirely. The documentation which is written in biological 
sciences will require to ba available on three media, however: 
(1) professionally printed 
(2) Word Processors for the desktop 
(3) on-line

However, there is a major catch with the 'conversion', and this 
is that you require a dedicated editor in order to be composed. 
E.g. a Wordprocessor on a PC will use a proprietary format, and a 
HTML editing is reasonably done in a specific environment which 
might not be portable. And, what happens if gobbledygook becomes 
the new format in three years? We will need to invent just another
compiler or converter. 

We have, therefore, developed a simple meta-language which allows to 
write generic format. The background paper on this is submitted. 
You might want to read http://www.ch.embnet.org/jam/int_unix/APPEND15.HTML
and have a look how we use this format in various environments; the 
http://www.ch.embnet.org/teaching/biocomputing/oct94.html page tells you 
more about the framework. 

The idea is that most scientific documentation can be easily written
in a simple format, and brushed up by a 'compiler' which makes best 
use of the format to be compiled into. Our JAM converter translates, 
currently, our JAM files in either LaTEX (for professional printing), 
RTF (for the PC/Mac environment), and HTML for W3. Ite converter comes
with or without GUI and runs on most platforms available today - look at 
ftp://bioftp.unibas.ch/archive_data/survival for details. 

Reinhard Doelz
EMBnet Switzerland 

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