Saturday, December 27, 2008

The End of the Beginning

     1   In the beginning was Word,
             and Word was with God,
             and Word was God.
     2   It was with God in the beginning.
     3   Through it all things were made;
             without it nothing was made that has been made.
     4   In it was life, and that life was the light of all people.
     5   The light shines in Darkness,
             and Darkness has not overcome it.

     (The Gospel According to) Bill 1:1-5

*      *      *

In the Gospel of Bill, "Darkness" refers to Web 2.0. Word (not "the Word", just ... "Word") is still holy writ in the business and technical writing/publishing world, as if it were still BWE — Before the Web Era. In the context of Election '08: Word is John McCain, Web 2.0 is Barack Obama.

But then there are still the flat-earthers, the young-earth creationists, etc.

When WE (as opposed to BWE) people publish a journal or (product) documentation, it is first as a blog (typically, an individual effort) or a wiki (typically, a collaboration). (Blogs and wikis can be used for other narrative purposes, like novels and encyclopedias.)

But while electronic publications like these are going to grow, I have no doubt that print publications and the demand for them will remain. But does that mean Word will still be relevant? I do doubt that.

With the beginning of "blog to print" and "wiki to print" — Browse your "cake" and Print it too! — services*, which take a blog or wiki respectively and produce (typically, Adobe PDF) formats for print publication (as books), this is the beginning of the end of Word.

(But then, could be wrong: There are still the flat-earthers, the young-earth creationists, ...)

* Blog2Print:
   ComputerWorld: FLOSSManuals delivers PDF output from wiki