RE: On PDFs

Subject: RE: On PDFs
From: Watson Laughton <WLaughton -at- orphan -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2003 13:30:20 -0500


>>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.

OK, now THAT I like. What I object to is jettisoning the printed version
and ONLY providing a PDF copy. What I always have to do with a NEW product
is print out the PDF (or whatever) file, and then browse through the
3-inch-thick crappy copy that clutters up my office. For future use, taking
the thing with me without having to carry around a book, etc., it's nice to
have a portable (e.g., PDF) version, but it should NEVER replace the printed
version. For some $19.99 utility program, I'm willing to accept it, but if
I'm buying something that costs hundreds or thousands of dollars per
license, I expect to at least get a manual (that costs $5 to print) in hard
copy.

-----Original Message-----
From: rbilbao -at- us -dot- amadeus -dot- net [mailto:rbilbao -at- us -dot- amadeus -dot- net]
Sent: jeudi 24 avril 2003 12:50
To: Watson Laughton; TECHWR-L
Subject: RE: On PDFs


>>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
not.)

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!
:o)

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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