Re: HTML vs. Adobe Acrobat

Subject: Re: HTML vs. Adobe Acrobat
From: Yvonne DeGraw <yvonne -at- SILCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 1996 08:56:46 -0700

Marsha Wolicki <wta -at- TAUX01 -dot- NSC -dot- COM> asked:

>Can anyone tell me what functionality we would get from
>converting our FrameMaker documents to HTML that we will
>not get from the Adobe suite of products? In other words,
>did we make the right decision?

It depends. Acrobat is good if your readers want the whole manual and
probably want to print a copy for themselves. HTML is better if they want a
handy online reference where they can look up info.

Acrobat lets you make the online version look just like the paper version.
If the document will be used online, that probably isn't a good thing. You
probably should create a Frame file with a more online-friendly layout
(adapt to screen size, font selection, etc.) and import those formats onto
your Frame document before generating the Acrobat files.

I believe you can do some hyperlinking in Acrobat, but it isn't supposed to
be easy. Basically, you will probably get a static document instead of one
with links.

Also, people will need to download the whole file to see one page. (I think
this changes when Adobe Amber comes out.) You may want to create separate
Acrobat files for each chapter if your readers may want only a few
chapters.

As someone else mentioned, you'll lose some audience because some people
won't want to take the time to download the Acrobat viewer. (Don't forget
to provide a link on your Web pages to make this easy.) And, it takes
longer to download a page of Acrobat stuff than a page of HTML.

I use WebWorks Publisher for one of my clients to convert Frame documents
to HTML. The process can be almost totally automated. (WebWorks has a beta
version out that converts tables. That was the big problem 'til recently.)

Yvonne DeGraw, Technical Services o Web Authoring
yvonne -at- silcom -dot- com o Technical Writing
http://www.silcom.com/~yvonne/ o Database Design and Publishing
Tel: 805/683-5784 o User-Interface Design


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