Converting Word forms to PDF..ouch!

Subject: Converting Word forms to PDF..ouch!
From: Ed Gregory <edgregory -at- dttus -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: 21 Jan 2000 10:11:51 -0600


I am trying to distill a simple Word form to PDF. Distiller 4.0, running
under Word 97, has been churning for the last 30 minutes on my 300 MHz machine
and is still "Converting Headings & Styles to Bookmarks."
It's up to 3235 and no indication of how many more to go. Since the test
document contains only 1,734 characters, I am not sure what Distiller is doing.
(I was pulled away for a work task before I could send it. The count in now in
excess of 8,200.)

Does anybody have any suggestions for easing the pain?

BACKGROUND: I'm working on a project that offers online Word forms
across a nationwide intranet. If you've never tried this, DON'T. You could poke
your eye out!
Okay, maybe it is not as bad as running with a sharp stick in your hand,
but after a couple of months, some of the users are looking for sharp sticks.

This project is growing and will add many more offices and end users in
a few months. Before we get there, I want to deliver the best online forms I
can.
For now, I am exploring converting the Word forms (about 35 of them
ranging from one-page with 30 data entry fields to 10 pages with more than 300
data entry fields.)

I also plan to look at converting to basic HTML, to HTML with heavy
Javascript (we've done one example and it is a beast to maintain,) and to
anything you kind people suggest.









-----Original Message-----
From: taltom -at- simplywritten -dot- com
Sent: Friday, January 21, 2000 7:38 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Cc: jsander -at- simplywritten -dot- com; chrisd -at- simplywritten -dot- com;
MDMpharmD -at- aol -dot- com
Subject: Single source PDF


It's been noted on this list that PDFs that are designed for print
often
show up badly on screen, and that his is a barrier to using PDF. I'd like to
point out a workaround that may appeal to some of the more technologically
bold among us.

You can now, using appropriate creation software (not Word, for heaven's
sake!) create your documents and output them as XML. XML can be completely
restructured using a companion language called XSLT, which allows an XML
document to be rebuilt as you choose. You can also attach a completely
different CSS or XSL (both stylesheet standards) to an XML document and
completely change its look: raise font size, reduce line length, make breaks
at different places, change colors, and so forth.

All of this technological chicanery, once set into place, gives you the
ability to create the doc, export as XML, then let the machinery take over
and automatically split the document into two, one bound for print, the
other for online. It can also automatically render the document as PDF, post
it to the web or intranet, send a PostScript file to a printer, and produce
HTML if desired. You can even create help files automatically, in WinHelp,
JavaHelp, or HTML Help. It takes setup, but it works. And it's all done
single source, so changes can be made to a single document, rather than to
three or four.

Tim Altom
Simply Written, Inc.
Featuring FrameMaker and the Clustar Method(TM)
"Better communication is a service to mankind."
317.562.9298
http://www.simplywritten.com



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