Mobileread
PDF Sucks and see here why...
#1  TadW 07-12-2003, 08:33 PM
Two interesting links:

http://www.teleread.org/blog/2003_07_01_archive.html
and
http://www.yarinareth.net/caveatlector/archive/week_2002_10_20.html#e001024

I agree with the writers of these articles. For you, does it also take forever to start Adobe Reader? Are you also tired of having difficulties converting PDF to another format?
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#2  macumazahn 05-25-2004, 11:14 PM
Cannot get pdf to convert to txt files properly, I have some old books that are pdfs that I would like to eventually convert to iSilo, Adobe makes a mess out of the file when converting to txt.
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#3  Chaos 01-05-2005, 02:17 AM
Quote TadW
For you, does it also take forever to start Adobe Reader?
Ooh, I have some suggestions.

Speed up Acrobat 7:
http://blogs.msdn.com/jonathanh/archive/2004/12/22/330288.aspx

Some discussion on speeding up Acrobat 6:
http://blogs.msdn.com/tims/archive/2004/11/24/269567.aspx

A utility to speed up Acrobat (should be top of the list there - or near it):
http://www.tnk-bootblock.co.uk/prods/misc/

Xpdf (another PDF reader - there are more out there):
http://www.foolabs.com/xpdf/



Yes, PDF isn't that great. But there's not much else to fill the space it currently holds (documents, like manuals, with some graphics - not just text, but mainly text). Microsoft Word (.doc)? More properitary than PDF. HTML? Not easy to grab for offline viewing. OpenOffice.org documents? Not supported in "commonly used programs" (MS Word - many open source word processors do support them). Similar problems with alot of other possibilities.

For conversion of PDFs (and PostScripts), have a look at GhostScript.
http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~ghost/

And be sure to look at the manual - a PDF file, downloadable from:
http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~ghost/doc/merz.htm
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#4  brahamt 01-05-2005, 09:38 AM
What I would like to do is somehow remove the option of having Acrobat open in the web client (i.e. download rather than open).

Does anyone know how to change it to that behavior?
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#5  Alexander Turcic 01-05-2005, 09:50 AM
This will stop you from loading a PDF in your web client (it doesn't stop Adobe from opening it in its seperate process though):
1. Close your browser
2. Open Acrobat Reader
3. Select the "Edit" menu
4. Select "Preferences"
5. In the "Options" part of this dialog box, make sure "Display PDF in Browser" is not selected.
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#6  dwig 01-05-2005, 12:14 PM
PDF is both very good and horrid, depending on what you want to do with it. Adobe has _never_ wanted it to be anything other than an final display format; they have never wanted it to be any form of interchange format. They have, over the years since the beta test days (I was prersonally involved for a short time during the later beta cycle of the original release), gradually and grudgingly yielded to users' desires to use it as a data interchange format despite the fact that PDF's core PostScript based architecture makes this _extremely_ difficult.

If you are looking for a final output format to display complex graphic intensive and layout controled documents then PDF is a very good choice and often the best choice. You can easily create an electronic document that looks exactly like the printed document. This is what PDF was designed for.

On the other hand, if you want to port a document to some other format, using a PDF as either source material or as an intermediary format is unwise. It should be used in such a workflow iff there is no other choice and, even then, it should be done with the foreknowledge that it will be a difficult and bumpy road. The basic structural design of PDF make automated conversion tools virtually impossible to design. The degree of artificial intellegence they must posses is beyond practical implimentation.

I've worked as one of the principle software designers on several projects at Macromedia to import and export PDF's in FreeHand. FreeHand's spacial layout orientation made reading and converting PDF's much easier than a linear beginning-to-end orientated word processing or ebook document would. Still, we had great difficulty assembling the various data chunks in the PDF into FreeHand type text blocks and graphic entities. More often than not, it was impossible to create code that could "think" about the page layout and decide which pieces should be assembled in what groupings and in what order.

The newer "tagged" PDF attributes help such importers to keep text in flowable text blocks but some source documents don't lend themselves to good automated construction of tagged PDFs during export and many PDF exporters don't have the option to generate such tagged PDFs. As a result, most PDF's found "in the wild" can't be reliably converted to any linear flowing format without extensive human interaction. Also, Adobe designed this tagging only as a tool for its Reader to use when needing to reflow a document displaying it on devices with limited display real estate. They were not designed to ease conversion to other formats and their design is, as a result, not optimized for such use.
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#7  brahamt 01-05-2005, 04:05 PM
Thanks Alex. I tried this and the behaviour is better, but it is still opening the file, although in a seperate Acrobat windows. What I really want is to open a dialog and offer me open or save.


Quote Alexander
This will stop you from loading a PDF in your web client (it doesn't stop Adobe from opening it in its seperate process though):
1. Close your browser
2. Open Acrobat Reader
3. Select the "Edit" menu
4. Select "Preferences"
5. In the "Options" part of this dialog box, make sure "Display PDF in Browser" is not selected.
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#8  Alexander Turcic 01-05-2005, 04:26 PM
Thierry, then you must reassign the file associations for 'PDF'. If you are using Windows, try following these steps:
1. From the Control Panel, click the Folder Options icon.
2. When the Folder Options dialog box appears, select the File Types tab.
3. Choose the file type you want to remove from the Registered File Types list, and then click the Remove button.
4. Click OK.
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#9  brahamt 01-06-2005, 09:00 AM
Thanks Alex.
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#10  Gatton 01-06-2005, 09:45 AM
Quote dwig
PDF is both very good and horrid, depending on what you want to do with it. Adobe has _never_ wanted it to be anything other than an final display format; they have never wanted it to be any form of interchange format.
Thanks for the detailed info dwig. I've always liked PDF when I needed to read something onscreen or print it out. I love that I can download things like forms (especially the myriad government forms) in PDF and print them out without having to get them from the post office or request them.

But conversion to another format such as txt and html has been a nightmare. I think I've tried all the inexpensive and free solutions. I hear the ones that cost an arm and a leg do a better job (Acrobat full version and that Gemini one) but I don't forsee being able to afford those anytime soon.

Maybe it's my fault for trying to make PDF do something that it's not supposed to do.
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