Re: PDF vs. HTML

Subject: Re: PDF vs. HTML
From: "Richard G. Combs" <richard -dot- combs -at- voyanttech -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 14:01:56 -0600

"WIETHORN,MIKE (Non-HP-Roseville,ex1)" <mike_wiethorn -at- non -dot- hp -dot- com> wrote in
message news:109803 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-
> An interesting article about the use of PDF for Web pages

As with much of Jakob Nielsen's work, this contains useful and valid points,
but they are surrounded by overstatement, generalizations, and, as Bill
Swallow noted, "shallow and inaccurate" information.

For instance, he complains about "the inability to easily navigate"
PDFs --has he never seen a PDF with bookmarks? He says PDFs are "optimized
for letter-sized sheets of paper" -- well, only if that's what the creator
chose to do. He also claims they "typically lack hypertext" -- not mine;
whose PDFs is he looking at?

Nielsen's most useful comments relate to not putting users into a PDF
without warning, such as his recommendation of a "gateway HTML page." I
agree; it annoys me when the Reader plug-in fires up because I didn't notice
that the link destination is a PDF. I think a PDF on the Web should have a
gateway page that gives visitors the option of opening the PDF in their
browser or downloading it.


Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Voyant Technologies, Inc.
richard -dot- combs -at- voyanttech -dot- com
rgcombs -at- free-market -dot- net


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