Subject: RE: On PDFs
From: rbilbao -at- us -dot- amadeus -dot- net
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2003 13:49:56 -0400

>>I know from experience that PDFs offer many advantages in this situation

Just FMI, what are the advantages that PDFs offer?

Well, in my experience as a user I've rarely had problems downloading PDFs off
different sites. When I had 56K (my real speed was usually between 38k and 40k)
it wasn't instantaneous but it was bearable depending on the file size. I've
also noticed that you can usually see the first page and read along while the
rest of the document loads with few problems (don't know if that's standard or

I guess I should've mentioned that currently, the PDFs online are not intended
to replace the printed versions (for most of our products). They're more like
another avenue in case you loose yours, we run out of printed ones, you need it
NOW, etc. Also, the largest manual we have is probably a 300-pager, but a lot of
the PDFs would be 15-20 page getting started guides and 1-2 page quick
references. The fact that the PDF will look exactly like the printed version is
good too, since a lot of the time spent on converting to HTML is dealing with
the formatting (making sure the page fits in the frame, the graphics show up in
the right places, etc.)

I've got to be honest: the biggest advantage to me is that it saves me time. I
can concentrate on pumping out content without worrying about HTML styles and
the like. Just convert to PDF and slap it up there! Everyone else is doing it!

But I need to make sure that I'm not putting my needs ahead of the users' needs.
Unfortunately, I can't just ask the users, so I was hoping to find some sort of
general data online to steer me in the right direction (and help me convince
everyone else!)

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