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Why not use PDF files?

P: n/a
I'm sorry if this is a little OT, but figured you all would have strong
opinions on the subject.

I'm maintaining an academic (i.e. information rich) site and the client
usually sends me Word and/or PDF files with information to post on the
site. One client suggested first providing a link to the original PDF file
so "people could print it easier" (can't most browsers do that?) and then
asked why not just use the PDF files she's already created with some
embedded links for the web pages, rather than go to the trouble of
converting it to HTML. I sort of know this is a bad idea, but I'm not sure
why, and need some cogent arguments against it. It's not a "job security"
thing at all, I'd be happy to make my work easier, I just know this isn't
a good way to present web pages--but why not? Again, please don't flame
me, except maybe for not already knowing the answer. Thanks a lot.

Denny
Jul 20 '05 #1
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5 Replies


P: n/a
Dennis M. Straussfogel <dm*@pgonlineNOSPAM.com> wrote:
I'm maintaining an academic (i.e. information rich) site and the client
usually sends me Word and/or PDF files with information to post on the
site. One client suggested first providing a link to the original PDF file
so "people could print it easier" (can't most browsers do that?) and then
asked why not just use the PDF files she's already created with some
embedded links for the web pages, rather than go to the trouble of
converting it to HTML. I sort of know this is a bad idea, but I'm not sure
why, and need some cogent arguments against it.


Have you read Jakob Nielsen's "PDF: Unfit for Human Consumption"
<http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20030714.html>?

Not everyone can access PDF documents directly. I know people who are
dependent on email PDF-to-text conversion services. And no one can use PDF
documents online as easily as they can use proper HTML documents.

It makes sense to use PDF for documents that aren't really going to be read
online, that are going to be downloaded and printed by virtually anyone who
uses them. But not for normal web content.
--
Darin McGrew, mc****@stanfordalumni.org, http://www.rahul.net/mcgrew/
Web Design Group, da***@htmlhelp.com, http://www.HTMLHelp.com/

"If you aren't part of the solution, then you are part of the precipitate."
Jul 20 '05 #2

P: n/a
Dennis M. Straussfogel wrote:
I'm sorry if this is a little OT, but figured you all would have strong
opinions on the subject.

I'm maintaining an academic (i.e. information rich) site and the client
usually sends me Word and/or PDF files with information to post on the
site. One client suggested first providing a link to the original PDF file
so "people could print it easier" (can't most browsers do that?) and then
asked why not just use the PDF files she's already created with some
embedded links for the web pages, rather than go to the trouble of
converting it to HTML. I sort of know this is a bad idea, but I'm not sure
why, and need some cogent arguments against it. It's not a "job security"
thing at all, I'd be happy to make my work easier, I just know this isn't
a good way to present web pages--but why not? Again, please don't flame
me, except maybe for not already knowing the answer. Thanks a lot.

Denny


Read the thread "Does anyone pay attention to standards?" There is much
there that is applicable to your question. The short answer is that
with most PDF's, a user must download the whole thing for just a small
piece of info. With HTML, a large document may be broken into smaller
units allowing users easier access to less than the entire document.

When both versions are available, the PDF offers much more complete
formatting options for printing where the HTML version may not print as
the author wants it to.

HTML for the "quick look." PDF for the downloadable complete formatted
print version.

I won't bother with PDF when I just want a look. I doubt that I am
alone. HTH.

--
Stan McCann
Tularosa Basin chapter ABATE of NM Cooordinator, Alamogordo, NM
'94 1500 Vulcan (now wrecked) :(
http://surecann.com/Dcp_2068c.jpg
Jul 20 '05 #3

P: n/a
dm*@pgonlineNOSPAM.com (Dennis M. Straussfogel) wrote:
I'm sorry if this is a little OT


I don't understand the "little" part. Why don't you post the question to
a group where it is on-topic, instead of writing apologies?
Hint: If you want arguments to convince someone, you should describe that
someone's situation, role, and level of knowledge about the Web.

--
Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Pages about Web authoring: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www.html

Jul 20 '05 #4

P: n/a
In article <dm******************@news.abccom.bc.ca>,
dm*@pgonlineNOSPAM.com (Dennis M. Straussfogel) writes:
I'm sorry if this is a little OT, but figured you all would have strong
opinions on the subject.


Simple. PDF is great for print, but a pain to read on-screen.
HTML (or plain text) works much better on-screen).

--
Nick Kew

Nick's manifesto: http://www.htmlhelp.com/~nick/
Jul 20 '05 #5

P: n/a

Thanks for the advice and link. Tells me what I need to know.

Denny
Jul 20 '05 #6

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