Re: PDF versus HTML

Subject: Re: PDF versus HTML
From: Chris Hamilton <caxdj -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1999 07:38:24 -0400

> At 12:55 PM -0700 9/10/99, Brierley, Sean wrote:
> >Is sending a PDF "customer hostile." Yes and no.


> Then, Jeanne A. E. DeVoto wrote:
> Well, sure it is, since you're just dumping those costs onto the customer.
> The customer furthermore does not benefit from the economies of scale that
> let a manufacturer print a few hundred copies of a book at a lesser cost
> per copy than the customer with a laser or inkjet printer; and the printout
> is not going to be as nice as a book in a number of ways.

Now I'm writing:

There are a couple of things that aren't being taken into account:

1. If I travel a lot and use the laptop on an airplane to recreate the fun and
excitement of work while I travel, I don't necessarily *want* to be screwing
around with hardcopy manuals. In this case, a PDF thrown on the distribution CD
just about perfect. I can also print the few pages I might be interested in. One
of our products has nearly 900 pages of documentation, which I wouldn't want to
carry with me on airplanes.

2. Maybe it costs me less to buzz off a copy on the network printer and throw a
binder clip on it than it does to have someone print me beautiful bound copies.
Maybe I don't want to pay for beautiful, professionally bound copies.

3. If you are creating your material in Word or Frame (or others, I suppose),
creating a PDF adds nearly *no* cost or time to the process. Why not package the
PDF if you think your customers want it, then do the HTML conversion you're going
to do anyway? Make everyone happy. Astound management at the giant leap in

Chris Hamilton
Technical Writer
caxdj -at- earthlink -dot- net

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