Re: HTML vs. PDF

Subject: Re: HTML vs. PDF
From: Matt Craver <MCraver -at- OPENSOLUTIONS -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1998 15:28:15 -0500

Although this discussion is rapidly approaching the status of a holy
war, I would like to state, as some others have already, that neither
HTML nor PDF are perfect, but are good tools for different jobs. For
example, I use Oracle's documentation as one source when writing some of
our documents. In Version 7.3.3x, the Oracle CD-ROM documentation was
all in PDF. In Version 7.7.4x, it has changed to HTML.
As I am looking through long documents, whichever format they are in, I
find the older PDF's easier to search and navigate. Oracle has added a
Java applet to provide search and navigation functions, but I am unhappy
with it. This silly thing pops up and slows thing to a crawls, usually
obscures part of the document, and doesn't provide as nice a set of
navigation tools as the standard Acrobat ones.
Having said that, the fact that using HTML enforces using the browser
means that I can easily go out to one of my bookmarks for further
information on any other research/documentation topic. I regard this as
a huge help. I can also see much greater opportunities for interaction
- opportunities that PDF does not provide.
For me, the decision to use PDF or HTML comes down to: "How much
interaction between the user and document is needed?" If the
interaction is limited to reading, printing, navigating and searching,
I find PDF the appropriate format. If the interaction demands anything
more, I'd go with HTML.
-Matthew Craver,
Technical Documentation
Open Solutions Inc.
Mcraver -at- opensolutions -dot- com

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