PDF versus HTML

Subject: PDF versus HTML
From: "Brierley, Sean" <Brierley -at- Quodata -dot- Com>
To: "'techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 10 Sep 1999 15:55:54 -0400


Yes, Amaya and CSSes help make HTML more booklike. However, PDF is most
booklike already. The original poster said they are converting printed books
to online books using PDF and are considering the cons of using HTML

Is sending a PDF "customer hostile." Yes and no. For example, printing costs
are huge. In the software industry, the most expensive part of the packaging
is the books. For smaller-volume companies, that don't print 10,000 copies
at one time but only print a couple of hundred, sending PDF instead can save
costs. Is saving costs and making a product more price-competitive

PDF also has advantages over printed material. To update a book requires a
partial re-print for loose-leaf bindings and relies on a customer to remove
and replace out of date material. For more permanent bindings, such as
perfect, updating a book requires a complete and expensive reprint.
Furthermore, printing and delivering a book takes time, up to a month, which
might delay a product release, depending on software release schedules and
time in beta test, etc. A PDF is good to go immediately, so can be included
when the software goes gold. Immediately, that is. Furthermore, updating the
book is merely a matter of up/downloading the new PDF. That's not
instantaneous, I grant you, but it is much faster and less expensive than
printing or shipping books.

I disagree that for a hypertext medium it's best to go with HTML. If you
want a printed book online, it's best to go with PDF, which brings with it
the benefit of hypertext.

All the best.

sean -at- quodata -dot- com

-----Original Message-----
From: Higgins, Lisa [SMTP:LHiggins -at- carrieraccess -dot- com]
Sent: Friday, September 10, 1999 3:08 PM
Subject: PDF vs. HTML

> Printing an entire web site (as I'll refer to the compilation of
> that comprise the book) is not practical.

Actually, W3C's browser, Amaya, has a function called Make Book that
you compile and print a book from links.

Also, if you use cascading stylesheets, you can create a stylesheet
specifically designed for printed material.

I'm not saying that this makes HTML an ideal print medium. Far from
it. But
if your primary goal is to have online documents that can be printed
on rare
occasions, it's definitely workable for that.

> Is there a place for HTML. Of course. Is HTML a better format
> than PDF for
> making a printed book on-line. Absolutely not.

If that's the goal, you're right. But what I would ask is: Why? It
seems a
little customer-hostile to provide a 'print' book and then say, "Oh,
you buy the paper and the toner and print it yourself." I realize
this isn't
the only possible scenario for this, but it's one I've seen a few

I like PDFs for review copies, white papers, backups to printed
manuals, and
so forth. For real hypertext, it's best to go with a hypertext
medium, like


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