Re: CDs and related (?) stuff

Subject: Re: CDs and related (?) stuff
From: Max Wyss <prodok -at- PRODOK -dot- CH>
Date: Tue, 7 Jul 1998 01:28:24 +0200


In your message, you don't say on which platforms your software and
documentation sould run. Also, it would be useful to know which tools you
are using to create the documentation.

There are a few points which must be considered when deciding whether to go
the PDF route or the HTML route. Well, as I am working a lot with acrobat,
my comments might be a bit biased <g>.

The first point to look at is the contents integrity of the documentation.
If you have your customer install the documentation on their system, this
may become an issue, as chances are higher that the user messes up a
directory tree (which you would need for the HTML based documentation;
every bit and piece has its own file) than just a few files (which may be
individually bigger, but really complete).

The second point is the appearance integrity of your documents. As the
documentation is also a marketing tool, the appearance can be an issue.
With HTML, you have essentially no control on how your documents will
actually look on the user's screen. You will have weird pagination, you
will have all kind of font sizes and families etc. With the PDF format,
_you_ control the appearance, as you can include all the font information
and layout etc. in the file. So, it will look the same for all users,
especially the pagination will be the same. The HTML solution would make
customer service to a nightmare, as they can no longer say "look on page 24
in the manual". The contents of page 24 in HTML will vary from user to user.

The third point is printing the documentation. This point is related to the
second point. Only with the PDF format, you will have control on how the
printed documentation will look like. And we also hear of too many problems
with printing documents from a web browser.

The fourth point is the process to get there. Supposed you are using
Framemaker for creating the documentation, you do have export functions for
PDF and for HTML. However, due to the limitations of the HTML format, you
may encounter more problems when creating the files than with the PDF way.

Hope, this can help.

Max Wyss
PRODOK Engineering AG
Technical documentation and translations, Electronic Publishing
CH-8906 Bonstetten, Switzerland

Fax: +41 1 700 20 37
e-mail: mailto:prodok -at- prodok -dot- ch or 100012 -dot- 44 -at- compuserve -dot- com

Bridging the Knowledge Gap ...

... with Acrobat Forms ... now for belt drive designers at


>It has been decided, after much discussion, that we are going to supply our
>software and documentation on CD (aiming for complete switch by the new
>year). Hard copy supplied will comprise an installation guide and a basic
>user guide. Everything else will be supplied on the CD with the hardware.
>If the customer wants hard copy then it can be printed or supplied by us
>(at a price). Now to my questions:
> My initial thoughts are to go down the PDF route - simple to do and
> reader free to distribute. Development suggested looking at HTML as a
> possibility. Any thoughts suggestions? Would the HTML route require
> much (any?) reworking of the documents etc?
> As we manufacture as well as design the idea is to burn the CDs
> ourselves and we've looked at one piece of kit that will "print" up to
> 50 in 20 minutes. Anyone (especially in UK) has had experience of
> printing large volume CDs?
>No doubt there's things I've not thought of in this first plunge so all
>commments are welcome.
>Damien Braniff

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