Re: HTML vs PDF for online manuals

Subject: Re: HTML vs PDF for online manuals
From: Mark Dempsey <mxd2 -at- osi -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L, a list for all technical communication issues" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 10 Sep 1999 14:01:38 -0700


You make some good points, but on one I must beg to differ:

"Higgins, Lisa" wrote:

> > Finally, Acrobat is as linear, or non-linear as HTML. Trust
> > me, you can make every link and jump HTML does in Acrobat.
> Err, no.
> You can make some types of links. There are many others that you cannot
> make. You cannot link to a stylesheet, to dynamic content, or to outside
> information in any meaningful way.

You are correct about the stylesheet, but Acrobat eliminates the need
for such a thing, so I suggest this is also moot. As for dynamic content
(sound files, e.g.) can be pasted into Acrobat itself (although the
files must be maintained separately...just like HTML) and Acrobat does
support forms, although I'm not equipped to advise you there. You can
also paste web links (outside information) into Acrobat documents.
Whether that's meaningful, I leave to you to decide. To make a web link,
try the FrameMaker hypertext marker: "message URL"--that makes a link back to a browser at that
URL. The "message" marker can also fire scripts that do other things

I don't disagree about the annoyance of having to scroll horizontally,
but as I said, you must tailor the original print width to your

Anyway, far be it from me to argue that Acrobat is superior to HTML, and
you certainly know your audience best. In my experience, however,
Acrobat is underused, and HTML is overrated...


-- mailto:Mark -dot- Dempsey -at- osi -dot- com
-- Mark Dempsey
-- Technical Publications
-- Objective Systems Integrators
-- 110 Woodmere, Folsom, CA 95630
-- 916.353.2400 x 4777

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