Re: HTML & PDF files

Subject: Re: HTML & PDF files
From: Dan BRINEGAR <vr2link -at- VR2LINK -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 22 May 1997 00:15:02 -0700

>Date: Wed, 21 May 1997 13:36:31 -0500
>From: "Mitman, Rikki" <Rikki -dot- Mitman -at- COMPAQ -dot- COM>
>Subject: HTML and PDF files
>There seems to be a marked preference for HTML over PDF, and I'm
>wondering why. My experience with each is admittedly limited.... What gives?

Off the top of my head, here's why I don't use PDF for regular documentation:
First impressions with PDF two years ago are still bouncing around in the
minds of some people I know...

* If you offer PDF *and* HTML documentation, your average (say
dialup-Internet- or AOL-type) user will use the HTML almost exclusively.
[I'm not slamming AOL users, or dialup Internet customers (they're my bread
and butter), I figure that after having forced them to install Winsock, or
configure Dial-up Networking, download Netscape, Edit .ini files, take two
defective modems back, and reinstall their Windows once or twice, it seems
cruel to make them try to install Acrobat as well].

* PDF filesizes get huge pretty fast, and can take forever to download

* Precious few PDF files are developed in a page layout suitable for
on-screen viewing (ten-point type on 8 1/2 X 11-inch pages DONT DONT DONT
DONT display well on 14" screens)

* Early PDF had problems with cross-platform fonts

* After many tries with different folks involved, I've found that early
Acrobat was difficult enough for end-users to install on Macs; nearly
impossible to install on PCs (this has undoubtedly changed in the last
coupla years).

* Some knucklehead will try to ZIP the PostScript files before converting
them to PDF on another machine <screech-wham>, and then post the resulting
gibberish online without checking it first. (Whoops, I think I'm venting

* In some cases, it's easier to code HTML files by hand for small docs than
to go thru the conversion process to PDF ('course, in Frame, I just hold
down my [option] key and pull-down to _Print_ to generate PDF, but I use a
Mac: I *think* someone I know took a week to convert a 12-page newsletter
to PDF on Wintel, and it was 7.2 MB and broken when it got to where it was
going <fanatical grin>).

I DO use PDF to distibute drafts to one group of online-savvy customers
running three different flavors of Windows, and will probably send them my
final draft-for-printing in PDF -- they also get the stuff in RTF, but as
they're using three different versions of Word (6.0, 7.0, '97?) it never
looks the same.

I believed just a few short years ago that PDF had HTML beat all to pieces,
and still like it (if you know what yer doing with it), but HTML files are
*much* easier to get out...


Dan Brinegar Information Developer/Research Droid/Mac Guy <-- under construction

Opinions expressed could very well be inline with what
Vr2Link thinks; because a company can't think, only the people in it,
and I am 1/3 of them <smile>.

djb -at- vr2link -dot- com -- Virtual INK
Performance S u p p o r t Svcs.

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