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Word So Totally Sucks

Yesterday, after a walk around Town Lake, we stopped by Austin Java for a bit of lunch. While I was waiting for my salad and Lauren for her egg burritos, I noticed the Austin-typical amount of people there with books and laptops, no doubt hard at work on materials for their classes.

The guy next to me was working on something in Word. As I watched him fiddle with margins and tab stops, go clicky-click to mutate some words from regular text to bold I realized, again, just how incredibly painful it is to have presentation (bold, left margin of 12, or 30 picas) defined in the same place where you define content ( “When in the course of human events….” ).

That guy should have been focusing on the latter, not the former, yet here he sat, going through pages and pages of content so that he could make it look right. Imagine, had he, in the content left a bit of markup like…

bolditem {text-style: bold}

we must remember our friends properly: their lives merit more than mere sentimentality

And then later if he decided ‘bolditem’ should get changed, a quick search and replace to change ‘bolditem’ ( a most unlikely word to type in your content ), to ‘italitem’ and then change the styling definition to italitem {text-style: italic} or red, or green, whatever, it would have taken but mere seconds.

Instead he was trolling through a document glumly selecting text, hitting the bold b button, and then selecting more text.

This design method is simply so wrong.

But this has been said elsewhere far more eloquently…

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