Re: HTML vs. Acrobat

Subject: Re: HTML vs. Acrobat
From: David Blyth <dblyth -at- QUALCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 21 Jun 1996 13:18:39 -0700

> We are interested in your opinions
>comparing two formats: HTML and Acrobat.

This is modified from my report "Prelude and Fugue in PDF Major"
(copyrighted 1995, but not published). Some of this may be dated,
but still might help in the way of comparison. This is the first
portion of the fugue.

1) You should probably use PDF when a department is transitioning
and designing on-line documents. That is, Adobe Writer lets
people learn good on-line techniques (such as hyperjumps) while
still using a traditional DTP - and _without_ needing a detailed
knowledge of HTML. Any PDF files so created are reusable at a
later state of document development.

2) You can take advantage of HTML's fast downloading when copyrighting
is not an issue (either the information is public domain xor the
material is strictly internal).

3) PDF can be used if the on-line document must be read-only, especially
for copyrighted material.

4) Use HTML for short tutorials, to bridge to a set of PDF documents, or
to maximize connections to the Web.

5) You should use PDF when you need to want to discuss specialized
technical material on-line. HTML (2.0 and N-HTML 2.0) currently
can't handle math symbols without using large bit map graphics.

6) You should use HTML when the document needs features not available
to PDF. For example, HTML allows you to embed movies into a Web
page without additional overhead (Netscape+plugins only). PDF
only lets you call movies as a separate application (Adobe plus
some other application). Eventually, Adobe runs out of RAM.

7) You should use PDF when the document requires file formats not
available to HTML. For example, this occurs when a PDF document
is zoomed.

8) HTML may be a better long solution because:

- HTML files can be modified at any time. PDF files are write only.
Thus, HTML files will be more useful once technology moves faster
than the rate at which documents can be iterated - because they
can be changed automatically by a server.

- HTML optimizes dynamic information display downloaded from the
Internet. That is, a Web page can update information as it
changes (I 'watched' the NBA final this way - the CNN page kept
updating the score.).

The paper goes on to suggest various ways to combine PDF and HTML
files into single displays. Thus, you may want to consider the
Adobe Acrobat Reader Plug-in for Netscape. (Yes, you can have your
cake and eat it too). For more information, see...

I yield the topic to Arlen Walker... Hi Arlen!

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