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multiple stylesheets in TIA (eg. editor window and print)

bfriesen
16-Pearl

multiple stylesheets in TIA (eg. editor window and print)

We are in the process of updating to TIA from SMA. Currently with SMA we have two stylesheets one for Editor and one for print. Is this common? What are the disadvantages if we only have one? Benefits of having two?

Thanks

Bryon

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions

Hi Bryon--

It all depends on what you mean by "having only one" stylesheet, vs. having separate stylesheets. If you mean "having only one", as in having a Styler stylesheet (or FOSI) that produces different output for screen (Editor) vs. print, then the question is mainly practical. In that case, here's how I see it:

Pros for one stylesheet:

  • By only having one stylesheet, maintenance *may* be easier, due to being able to leverage the common formatting between the two outputs. For example, if you decide to change the text color for hyperlinks, and the change applies in both Editor view and print, then you only need to make the change once. This will be more of a positive the more your Editor screen looks like your print output. If the two formats are very different, then there is less of an advantage here.
  • Because everything is in one file, configuration management and deployment may be somewhat easier.

Pros for two stylesheets:

  • Less chance of confusion leading to formatting changes getting applied to the wrong output, e.g. a change that should only affect the screen also showing up in print.
  • Sometimes, if Styler stylesheets have a lot of output-specific formatting rules (e.g. Editor only or Print only), it can make them complicated and harder to maintain. If your two formats are very different, keeping them in separate stylesheets can avoid a lot of rule branching that would be required to have both formats in the same stylesheet.
  • If your editor-only stylesheet is separate, it can be edited without needing a Styler license. You need a Styler license to make changes that apply to other outputs. This might be an opportunity to reduce costs, if your Editor formatting is maintained by a different person from your print formatting.

If, on the other hand, by "having only one", you mean that the Editor view and print view would be the same, vs. having different editor and print styling, then things get a lot deeper. Here you get into philosophical territory, about the relative merits of WYSIWYG editing vs. task-specific styling. In this case, I come down on the side of task-specific styling: writing content is a fundamentally different task from reading it, so I think it makes sense to optimize the Editor view for the writing task, and to optimize the print format for the reading task. But there are plenty of people who feel that it's important to be able to see something that's a pretty close representation of the final product while you're producing it, so they lean toward making the Editor styling as similar to the final output (print) as possible.

A while back I had a blog post on this subject, but it has been taken down during some recent web site updates. I will see if I can get permission to repost it somewhere else, and link to it if possible.

--Clay

View solution in original post

2 REPLIES 2

Hi Bryon--

It all depends on what you mean by "having only one" stylesheet, vs. having separate stylesheets. If you mean "having only one", as in having a Styler stylesheet (or FOSI) that produces different output for screen (Editor) vs. print, then the question is mainly practical. In that case, here's how I see it:

Pros for one stylesheet:

  • By only having one stylesheet, maintenance *may* be easier, due to being able to leverage the common formatting between the two outputs. For example, if you decide to change the text color for hyperlinks, and the change applies in both Editor view and print, then you only need to make the change once. This will be more of a positive the more your Editor screen looks like your print output. If the two formats are very different, then there is less of an advantage here.
  • Because everything is in one file, configuration management and deployment may be somewhat easier.

Pros for two stylesheets:

  • Less chance of confusion leading to formatting changes getting applied to the wrong output, e.g. a change that should only affect the screen also showing up in print.
  • Sometimes, if Styler stylesheets have a lot of output-specific formatting rules (e.g. Editor only or Print only), it can make them complicated and harder to maintain. If your two formats are very different, keeping them in separate stylesheets can avoid a lot of rule branching that would be required to have both formats in the same stylesheet.
  • If your editor-only stylesheet is separate, it can be edited without needing a Styler license. You need a Styler license to make changes that apply to other outputs. This might be an opportunity to reduce costs, if your Editor formatting is maintained by a different person from your print formatting.

If, on the other hand, by "having only one", you mean that the Editor view and print view would be the same, vs. having different editor and print styling, then things get a lot deeper. Here you get into philosophical territory, about the relative merits of WYSIWYG editing vs. task-specific styling. In this case, I come down on the side of task-specific styling: writing content is a fundamentally different task from reading it, so I think it makes sense to optimize the Editor view for the writing task, and to optimize the print format for the reading task. But there are plenty of people who feel that it's important to be able to see something that's a pretty close representation of the final product while you're producing it, so they lean toward making the Editor styling as similar to the final output (print) as possible.

A while back I had a blog post on this subject, but it has been taken down during some recent web site updates. I will see if I can get permission to repost it somewhere else, and link to it if possible.

--Clay

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Thank you.

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