The problem with publishing on dead trees…



The Internet is a great place. You can find all sorts of information, and you can do searches to see if the information you are reading is correct. And of course, you can always correct any embarrassing mistakes you make after publishing something.

Books (dead trees) are still nice, because you can bring them just about anywhere, and they are really easy to use. There are major drawbacks, though, such as the printing cost, you can't make copies easily for later use, or if the original is lost or destroyed. You can't keep it updated at all times, and of course, you can't correct mistakes…

A new book from SitePoint called "Firefox Secrets" seems to suffer somewhat from this problem:

"Tabbed browsing is not that new an idea; in fact, it wasn't invented by Firefox. It's probable that NetCaptor, a third-party program that provides an alternative tabbed browsing interface for Internet Explorer, pioneered this approach. The Mozilla Application Suite followed hot on the heels of that tool, and more recently, Opera has, too. Opera developed a Multiple Document Interface (MDI), which is not the same as the Tabbed Document Interface (TDI) of tabbed browsing; Opera has added a faux-tabbed browsing interface in Opera 7.60 preview 3 (and later)."

I know that the year 2000 is quite recent, because that's when Opera 4 was released. Opera 4 kept multiple pages within the main browser window, and you could switch between them using the Window bar. In other words, it worked the way more recent tabbed browsers like Firefox do, except that it was perhaps a bit more flexible. The window bar might not have been skinned to look like it had tabs, but it did work the same way: Click the widget representing a page on the window bar, and Opera showed that page.

Opera 7.6/8 still uses MDI with a "window bar" (now called a page bar), which is still the same concept as back in the Opera 4 days, and the same concept as all other browsers with "tabs". Different names and looks, perhaps, but the very same concept.

"When you read a Web page in a tabbed browser, you can open interesting links in "background" tabs, which will load those pages as you continue to read the original."

I don't think this is part of the definition of "tabbed browsing", but it was first added to Opera in version 6.0.

Anyway, this does illustrate the problem with dead tree publishing, and although Opera books have been available in the past, they do get outdated awfully fast.

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2 thoughts on “The problem with publishing on dead trees…

  1. … and about the only good thing, is that it's like free advertising. Having Firefox books on shelves is increasing the awareness of that browser. Even if people don't buy the books, if they keep hearing and seeing Firefox eventually it will start sounding like a good idea to try. Just like the zillions of "Download Firefox" buttons that litter far too many web sites for my liking 🙂 That's why I added an Opera button to my site.

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