Dynamic Alternatives
City, St Zip

Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2002 16:36:15 -0700

Mr. Rod Welch
The Welch Company
440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111 2496
Subject:   Feedback on SDS


This is by way of an experiment.

I browsed the links from your letter on OHS [dated July 23, 2002] and added a section to my outline.
I exported it to HTML and then did some work in an HTML editor to get [work product that is similar to SDS -- see] the page at...

It isn't the easiest thing to create, but then I didn't set out to create it, it just sort of crept up on me.

See what you think.



Garold L. Johnson

Original Source

=== SDS ===

Date: Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Author: Garold L. Johnson

Source: sds.knt

--- Feedback on SDS ---

Reference: Letter from Rod Welch to OHS on Tue, 23 Jul 2002

[Citing SDS record on April 5, 2000...

Links in SDS Harder to Follow that Inline Information
SDS More Difficult to Follow Using Links than with Inline
Inline Material Reduces Problem of Links Improves Productivity

glj -- Rod relates that Eric Armstrong objects to records which are heavily linked. Eric prefers to see most content inline with links reserved for additional or supporting information.
[Quoting from the record on April 5, 2000...]

Eric continues...

What you want, though, is for much of the material to be "inline" instead of linked. When you publish a "reduced" version, the material that was originally inline becomes relegated to a link -- a link which is identified as something that points to "supporting information" or "original arguments" or the like, so you know you don't want to follow it unless you are particularly interested in deeper information. ref DRT 5 4473

glj -- I sometimes experience a certain degree of annoyance when the records are too heavily linked as it can sometimes destroy the continuity of reading, particularly in email.
This is not a defect in SDS, but perhaps in how Rod uses it. Certainly the fact that in email the full URL appears rather than having text linked can be visually distracting.
There is certainly a tendency to get lost in following nested links when each new link also consists mostly of links.
In this document I have quoted Rod's documents extensively as well as linking to them in order to minimize the amount of link following that is needed for understanding while still providing access to the full record. This is made a bit more difficult by the formatting of the HTML version of SDS records when pasted elsewhere. This could be improved by better structuring of the HTML generated by SDS.
Some of this resistance relates to the creation of documents rather than a linked record. Documents do have weaknesses, but they are a valuable means of communicating specific connected material. While it is clear that SDS should not be a document creation system, it may be that it could benefit from some features to support the creation of documents from the record. Documents become more important when SDS is used by a Comm Manager to provide input for executives -- executives communicate with documents when they communicate in writing at all. Ability to produce memos, whitepapers, and presentation materials based on the record, with references and inline content could be a powerful tool for supporting executives.
The base form of the documents should be fully linked SDS records so that the refactoring that takes place preserves alignment with the full record and doesn't get lost just because documents were generated in order to improve communication.