Re: Electronic books/PDF drawbacks

Subject: Re: Electronic books/PDF drawbacks
From: David Blyth <dblyth -at- QUALCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 12 Jul 1996 12:16:08 -0700

Elma Tymes says...

>2. Size of the downloadable is very much an information design issue. I
>would suggest that putting the same amount of information into HTML or
>WinHelp will result in a file package that, in total, is just as large
>as the PDF file. In WinHelp, you're going to spend just as long
>downloading each file. In HTML, you'll spend the same amount of time,
>spread out in penny-packets.

I agree that the size of the downloadable is a design issue. I disagree
that HTML files will take the same amount of time to download.

The way a Web page works is that an ASCII HTML file calls in binary file
formats for graphics, movies, sounds and so forth. Thus, I think what
you're really trying to claim is that the total amount of time to download:

the ASCII HTML files in 1 Web page

+ the binary files used in the same Web page


= The amount of time for a PDF file to download the same info.

I believe that you're missing two important points:

o ASCII files are much smaller than the equivalent binary files and
take much less time to download.

o Web pages allow greater control over what you download. You can
turn off graphic (binary) downloading altogether. Acrobat currently
forces you to download everything.

>Also, note that with the 3.0 readers now in testing, you
>will be able to download 1 page at a time. Which gets you into the same
>ballpark as those HTML penny-packets.

Not quite. PDF 1 page packets are _still_ binary. HTML penny-packets are
_still_ ASCII. ASCII files are fastest way to communicate pure text.

Acrobat 3.0 is certainly an improvement, but

o Adobe wouldn't have moved to 1 page packets unless they knew multi-page
packets were too large.

o Adobe is still fighting physics. Binary is binary, and ASCII is ASCII.

David (The Unbiased) Blyth
Technical Writer & Web Site Designer

The usual disclaimers apply - QUALCOMM isn't that crazy.

Blodo Poa Maximus

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