Re: pdf vs. html

Subject: Re: pdf vs. html
From: Steve Pendleton <SPendlet -at- COGNEX -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 1998 18:14:41 -0700

>Why are buying FrameMaker to create PDF files? Just buy Adobe Acrobat

Using Frame as a front end to Acrobat, you can easily, cheaply, and
create professional-quality hypertext systems. All of the generated
front and
back matter (TOC, LOF, LOT, index) automatically becomes hypertext;
so do the cross references (see XXX on page YYY). You can also create
additional links through hypertext markers on the master pages or
in the text. Most of the whizzies developed for FrameViewer also
just fine to Acrobat. Currently, most PDF files are just a dump of the
master to PDF. They don't begin to approach the potential of the medium
when used for purpose-built online books.

(Having said that, I'm ready to give up Frame for native HtmlHelp
authoring, but that's a sidebar of its own.)

>You postscript Word files, and then use Distiller (part of the
>Exchange package) to distill the postcript files into PDF.

To the best of my knowledge, the only way to get hypertext from Word to
PDF is to paint in each link by hand each time you build. Ouch. With
your links are encoded in the source.

>Acrobat Exchange costs about $200, FrameMaker costs about $2000.

This is untrue. Frame is what, maybe $500. I'm pretty sure it currently
comes with the complete Acrobat package-why buy Acrobat alone
when a little more buys both?

>FrameMaker is great, but not if all you want to do is deliver Word
files using PDF.

That's not all I want to do. ;-)

I don't want to start any flame wars, but to my eyes Word was designed
a general office package for people who are not aimed at the kind of
book production commonplace among technical writers. It does not
emphasize the kind of layout, text, and typesetting control needed
for professional-quality book-length documents. Many of its shortcuts
unwise for lengthy structured documents. Its style sheet features are
awkward and frustrating. Frame, in contrast is a purpose-built solution
aimed at
technical writers.

Steve Pendleton
Technical Writer Deluxe

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