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why not downloadable pdf content?

This is only a gripe for sites that contains manuals or education materials.
why not providing downloadable pdf contents for material?
why insists we have to go from main index page and then go each page by clicking on the index, and from one page to the other by clicking next page button?
do you think we will use page grabber program to save all page that linked to the main index page?

cingcing
Monday, July 19, 2004

Presumably this is done to make it difficult for you to print things out. It certainly has that effect.

Stephen Jones
Monday, July 19, 2004

My bet would be on sheer lazyness.

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, July 19, 2004

Mozilla/FireFox/Opera tabs make this problem mostly a non-issue, although sometimes it is still a bit of a nuisance. You might want to check out HTMLDOC (use google), which converts HTMLs to beatifully formatted PDFs.

Ori Berger
Monday, July 19, 2004

Please no. PDFs are an abomination. Why people find it attractive to turn 10K of text into a 5MB pdf and then force people to launch Adobe's slow and buggy Reader to read it mystifies me.

Neat Chi
Monday, July 19, 2004

Adobe is only slow if you don't disable all the plugins.
As for file size, there is not a great deal of difference between a .pdf and a Word file.
For printing .pdf wins.
What the OP wants is all the info in one file he can download. The form of the file is secondary.

Stephen Jones
Monday, July 19, 2004

Yes, Stephen is correct.
What I (and probably many others) want is to right click on it and save it on our local drive, so we can view it offline anytime and print it in good format.

cingcing
Monday, July 19, 2004

And it's stupid to think that using HTML makes this "hard to print". In reality, PDFs can disable printing if that's a requirement, but your browser will always be able to print HTML.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Monday, July 19, 2004

There's a lot to be said for providing manuals and other documentation as PDF files.  Keep in mind that I'm only forwarding its use for the purpose of material that was meant to be printed.  Using it for sales brochures and product sheets should be restricted to internal use between the sales department and the printer.

For manuals, it's a very nice way to provide a document that's optimized for printing, something that HTML can't do. Getting pagebreaks right when you have tables and screenshots and other large unbreakable content is very difficult.

For downloadable documentation, HTML also has pretty serious drawbacks.  Instead of a single file, there's a bunch of files that have to be saved.  That gets messy, and I personally don't like it very much.  The only good thing that it has going for it is that if the document is set up properly, you get a good one page/one topic arrangement.

Clay Dowling
Monday, July 19, 2004

HTML is an abomination. Why someone wants to downconvert a properly formatted PDF into ugly HTML just to save space boggles the mind. HTML prints poorly, and is inconsistent across browsers - IE will even clip parts of a printout if the style sheet is incompatible with the printer.

Ankur
Monday, July 19, 2004

HTML is designed for viewing on a screen and is vastly superior to .pdf for that purpose, just as .pdf is vastly superior to HTML (even HTML with special print settings) for printing out documents.

Stephen Jones
Monday, July 19, 2004

Much of the reason for avoiding PDF came from the days of dialup, when downloading a 5MB document was a not-so-fun experience, and when most PC's were running at less than 1ghz and 256MB RAM -- making the Acrobat plugin a real beast.

These days, most sites probably should be providing the information in *both* formats, if they really want to make everyone happy.

Joe
Monday, July 19, 2004

I once worked at a bank, where FannieMae and FreddieMac forms were being automated (the idea was to push bits around rather than FedEx pieces of paper: there would be about 20 or so envelopes FedExed per mortgage application).

They were being done in html. We had conniptions trying to make them look decent on several different browser/printer combinations.

One solution I came up with, and prototyped, was to replace the html forms with a pdf form that was downloaded (one time) and .fdf data that was pushed up and down the wire (24k baud connections were the design target). A bho was used to keep the blank forms synchronized with the server application.

Using html, the forms looked different depending on which version of which browser you used, and which model of which printer you used. Some combinations were ghastly. Using PDF, they looked the same no matter what printer/browser combo you had. Our customers were mostly banks with locked down desktops, so compelling a user to upgrade from IE4 (to pick on one) would mean a customer lost.

Peter
Monday, July 19, 2004

God you people are living in the stone age... who needs to print anything anymore? I can't remember the last time I printed a manual of any sort. And Adobe's reader is still slow and buggy (ages to launch, likes to hang my browser). Welcome to the year 2000.

Neat Chi
Monday, July 19, 2004

"I can't remember the last time I printed a manual of any sort."

Is that because you're easily confused by large amounts of text? Adobe Reader is slow to start up but it's rock-solid on my system. Your browser crashes because your browser is crap (let me guess... one of the oh-so-wonderful open-source IE alternatives?). And a PDF of pure text content is in the range of 10-100 KB, not MB.

Chris Nahr
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

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