Re[2]: HTML vs. Acrobat

Subject: Re[2]: HTML vs. Acrobat
From: Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM
Date: Fri, 21 Jun 1996 16:58:00 -0600

And I was gonna sit this one out, this time!!! :{>}

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

Don't be worried you walked into the middle of a conversation. It's a
running joke here. We represent two different opinions and approaches.

Main problem with HTML is whose HTML? If you can control the browser people
are using for your page (company standards can be useful that way) or,
alternatively, if the appearance of the document isn't important (such as
technical specs served up to engineers) then this problem doesn't exist for
you, and you can go HTML with no worries.

That's my biggest problem with HTML. I'm among the pessimists about its
long-term future, however. I foresee Microsoft and NetScape mangling it
until it's completely beyond recognition as a standard, something I don't
see happening to PDF.

If your production docs change repeatedly and quickly, then HTML is
probably a good fit, as long as you can get the required appearance from
it. HTML is probably better as a vehicle for drafts, as they're more prone
to change than final copy, so there could be a good point to doing both.
(Output a draft to HTML after each revision, then output the final copy to
PDF as soon as it's locked down.)

I'm afraid I wasn't paying much attention to the start of this thread, so I
don't know what kind of docs we're talking about here and how prone they
are to rapid changes. Manufacturing lines don't change often, other items
seem to change hourly.

Since Acrobat can access the web via plug-ins and NetScape can access PDF
via plug-ins, there's not going to be a whole lot to choose from on the
client side (BTW, I have a movie plug-in for Acrobat, so it really doesn't
need a separate app for that). Both are memory hogs. (Second note: I've
been Cyberdoggin' it a lot lately, and I gotta say once I get a few more
OpenDoc parts I'm locking in. I *love* some of the things I can do with
it!)

One advantage Acrobat has is it's easier to convert existing docs into it
than HTML. I've never seen an HTML converter yet that I didn't need to futz
with the output a little. Maybe I'm just too picky, I don't know. You can
create a basic Acrobat file the same way you print your existing doc, and
you won't lose any of your design. With HTML converters it seems I always
have to go in and fix the resulting appearance as well as add hot links;
with PDF I just add hot links.

In a nutshell: HTML for docs which change a lot and whose appearance
doesn't matter very much; PDF for docs where design and layout are
important and where ease of conversion matters.

Right now a big advantage of HTML is in creating an HTML page on the fly
from a database. However, by the time most of us get our docs into such a
database-driven condition, something similar will arrive for PDF.

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

No more for me, thanks. I'm driving! :{>}


Have fun,
Arlen
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 124

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
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