Personally I'm not a fan of PDFs. I don't have any PDF reader installed on this computer. It annoys me rather when some website expects you to download a PDF to read. Normally at such a point I would direct my browser elsewhere. In other words, I agree with this guy http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20030714.html

What does anyone else think? And what about Microsoft's new "Metro" format?
Posted on 2005-11-30 13:33:13 by stormix
PDF files are okay for stuff that's intended to be printed - especially things from LaTeX source with a lot of math formulas. For that purpose, I haven't found anything that's better than PDF. It's also bearable for "product flyers", although it does annoy me when I have to download a 3meg file to get just a few specs they could have put in html format.

For documentation and ebooks, I much prefer htmlhelp (v1, the .chm format). It's fast and compact, easy to search, etc.

Btw, try www.foxitreader.com , a lot smaller than acrobat reader.
Posted on 2005-11-30 14:14:28 by f0dder
I really like PDF's, and find myself using PDF Creator very frequently. Plus I use LaTeX alot so need pdf's there.
Posted on 2005-11-30 17:47:58 by Eóin
Better than getting a Word document.
Posted on 2005-12-01 02:45:01 by Jibz
pdf - portable document format
html - hyper text markup language
word - word processor, professional word processing.
Posted on 2005-12-01 07:08:23 by akidd86
I personally like PDFs (it's what I use as an excuse of having Macromedia FreeHand 10 installed). PDFs are good (as f0dder said) for any material which is intended to be printed. But also I really like any document that has images, charts, or formulas to be in PDF or HtmlHelp format rather than HTML. The reason being it's one file, whereas downloading an eBook or such in HTML format has images seperated, etc. Not sure if that's actually a viable reason, but I just like everything to be in one file.

Although I do somewhat support PDF, the author of that article hit on some points that I do agree with. PDF shouldn't be overused, nor used as a document to be read online. By this I mean, unless you intend on the visitor saving the document and reading it later on, it should be done in HTML. I do like sites which offer an "online version" (generally html) and "pdf version" links for their articles, as while I'm online I'll read the html version, and if I like the document, I save the PDF version. But as I always say, to each their own.

Regards,
Bryant Keller
Posted on 2005-12-02 17:05:45 by Synfire

I personally like PDFs (it's what I use as an excuse of having Macromedia FreeHand 10 installed). PDFs are good (as f0dder said) for any material which is intended to be printed. But also I really like any document that has images, charts, or formulas to be in PDF or HtmlHelp format rather than HTML. The reason being it's one file, whereas downloading an eBook or such in HTML format has images seperated, etc. Not sure if that's actually a viable reason, but I just like everything to be in one file.

Although I do somewhat support PDF, the author of that article hit on some points that I do agree with. PDF shouldn't be overused, nor used as a document to be read online. By this I mean, unless you intend on the visitor saving the document and reading it later on, it should be done in HTML. I do like sites which offer an "online version" (generally html) and "pdf version" links for their articles, as while I'm online I'll read the html version, and if I like the document, I save the PDF version. But as I always say, to each their own.

Regards,
Bryant Keller

you are basically right. however, portable means people can download product briefs, technical manual etc., and do not have to worry about html subdirectories (most html pages have them) or how/where to unpack .zip archives. pdf=single file, html=good and compact, even high compression, but it has subdirectories with little files, long filenames. html even makes better on floppy disk (512 byte sectors and small gif files). ;)
Posted on 2005-12-03 08:38:14 by akidd86
*BUMP*
I like PDFs. I hate postscript documents.
Posted on 2006-08-28 20:04:05 by Mike359
Between PS and PDF, the latter is the lesser evil :) , only because of the jokes of viewers available. A PS file's lifespan on my PC is 10 minutes or less.

Many html files on a floppy? Not everyone knows they have to search for some file, called "index.html". And uhm btw, at least half of the people nowadays use memory sticks, 64MB at least ;). And more than half of the modern PCs don't have an FDD.
Multiple html files are nicely and easily packed into chm - the definite format for documentation. Not just docs of API, but series of tutorials on 3D modeling, user manuals, encyclopedia-like docs, .... The only incovenience is the lack of Maths formulas' display, but it's easy to insert  screenshots of the formulas.
When reading PDF's smudged text, it takes me much more time to read and completely understand the written text.. can't find an explanation for the latter issue. Anyone else experiencing this, too?

Topic searching.. PDF and its primitive "bookmarks" are an ancient and obsolete way of indexing a dead pulped tree book. A book that you'd usually read completely. It's frustrating me a lot, because most documentation I need for my primary job is in large pdfs, and it takes ages to find the info I need. At some time my boss sent me a html version of the API reference... but some html.. 130 html files in one directory, total of 10MB in size, all named vaguely: "Text.html", "TextMgr.html", "TextServicesManager.html".. . Each html file containing short, really short descriptions of 50-150 functions XD, and remarks are hidden in another large html, almost in the form of essays - you find that info in a stroke of luck after 3 days of debugging and hair-tearing :) .

I'd never hurt my customers by giving them docs, larger than 2 pages, in PDF format :) . And I hope I, as a customer, will be treated like that in the near future :) .
Posted on 2006-08-28 22:14:36 by Ultrano
Can chm files be created/read on Linux?
Posted on 2006-08-28 23:11:56 by drhowarddrfine
use xchm
Posted on 2006-08-29 01:00:58 by QUASAR

When reading PDF's smudged text, it takes me much more time to read and completely understand the written text.. can't find an explanation for the latter issue. Anyone else experiencing this, too?

Some/most PDFs look pretty okay, but especially some "academic" PDFs produced on linux look crap on windows (both FoxIt and Adobe reader) - probably has to do with difference in fonts, and not embedding the fonts in the pdf? The same PDFs look okay on linux. So much for portable ;)

I wholly agree with Ultrano on the topic of searchability. PDFs suck there. Bigtime. <3 .CHM <3.

Nice that there's a xchm - now somebody just needs to write proper linux documentation in that format ;)
Posted on 2006-08-29 01:06:41 by f0dder
PDF is irreplaceable when it comes to documents intended for printing. CHM is perfect for Windows documentations, tutorials, manuals, etc. HTLM comes when these documentations need to be cross platform. TEXT is for everything else. And RTF/DOC/ODT/PS - should be outlawed.


use xchm


There is also GnoCHM (for Gnome users). I haven't used it though, so cant say whether it's any good.
Posted on 2006-08-29 05:02:18 by arafel
When reading PDF's smudged text, it takes me much more time to read and completely understand the written text.. can't find an explanation for the latter issue. Anyone else experiencing this, too?


This was a really big problem with older versions of OpenOffice. The problem was that the "Export to PDF" feature only supported an Arial like font. Because of this, in order to use other fonts, you had to rasterize the text into an image and save it, which would cause it to look slightly smudged. (If I recall correctly, FreeHand 10 has the same problem). OpenOffice.org 2 has fixed this and is now my default PDF editing software. It even supports the ability to create clickable links now, which is a big improvement.

As for CHM on Linux, I'm actually suprised. I never would have thought there to be a need for something like that, as I always liked MAN pages. Also, last time I used it (like 3 years ago), XPDF reader had a Regex search feature which allows for PERL pattern matching style searches.

And lastly, as for PS, I even hated that format when I was on Linux/BSD. If I so much as saw a document in PS I would refuse to download it.

Regards,
Bryant Keller
Posted on 2006-08-29 11:50:49 by Synfire
Interesting that the homepage for xchm says it originated in Linux or BSD (forgot) and then was ported to Windows which makes me wonder if chm has its roots in Linux or BSD.
Posted on 2006-08-29 13:06:48 by drhowarddrfine

Interesting that the homepage for xchm says it originated in Linux or BSD (forgot) and then was ported to Windows which makes me wonder if chm has its roots in Linux or BSD.

Nah, just that xchm was started on linux because there wasn't .chm support there, *then* backported to windows "coz they could". There already were the MS htmlhelp viewer on Windows, so not *that* big reason to start a new one.
Posted on 2006-08-29 17:53:58 by f0dder
mmn, Doesn't the .RTF format provided all the features of PDF? Without the copyrighting stuff....

Acrobat reader is toted as the lightweight reader for pdf's but try opening a pdf in less than 10 seconds.  :lol:

For me its just another company that has taken a good idea and tried to squeeze every last drop of money
out of it as possible at the expense of the end product.

No i don't like pdfs. (anymore ;))

Embedded pdfs in websites,well that's just laughable.
What joker came up with that idea i wonder......
Posted on 2006-08-29 18:07:12 by Nice Eddie
Try FoxitReader for a more lightweight PDF reader (as long as you don't need "complex" PDFs, like computer magazines... foxit renders "complex" postscript DAMN SLOW). Or you could use an old 5.x version of Adobe Reader. Or even a "stripped" one of the more recent versions (though I still find those to be slow).

The advantage of .pdf over .rtf is that it's probably supported on more platforms... and you have a higher chance of getting correct results when printing...
Posted on 2006-08-29 18:25:41 by f0dder
aaah! live and learn,eh?

Fodder I generally try to steer clear of pdfs, but when I'm 'forced' to use them i use PDF2RTF converter.
Especially when its something i need reference later (like a manual or something)

but thanks anyway

http://www.getpdf.com/pdf2rtf.html
Posted on 2006-08-29 21:17:59 by Nice Eddie

When reading PDF's smudged text, it takes me much more time to read and completely understand the written text.. can't find an explanation for the latter issue. Anyone else experiencing this, too?


This was a really big problem with older versions of OpenOffice. The problem was that the "Export to PDF" feature only supported an Arial like font. Because of this, in order to use other fonts, you had to rasterize the text into an image and save it, which would cause it to look slightly smudged. (If I recall correctly, FreeHand 10 has the same problem). OpenOffice.org 2 has fixed this and is now my default PDF editing software. It even supports the ability to create clickable links now, which is a big improvement.

Actually, I wondered (asked) if anyone else reads/understands the documents much slower when the text is smudged. Or actually maybe the problem lies more in the alignment of words/paragraphs. Like in books, aligning whole lines to start and end at an exact pixel of the X axis.... It looks good from 2-3 metres away, but kills any fast-read skill, and slows down normal reading, for me.

Eddie, thanks for the link, really useful! though, a the price is spicy :S
Posted on 2006-08-29 21:29:42 by Ultrano