Discussion:
Sales PDFs - a rant
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Dyck, Lionel B. , TRA
2017-10-04 19:22:01 UTC
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I've received a number of PDF's from different sales organizations and publishers - each one is formatted for a printing.


1. I am not going to print the file to read it

2. I am going to read it on my workstation monitor

3. My workstation monitor is NOT in vertical page format but is landscape orientation

4. That means I have to scroll down and then back up for a multi-column page

5. Adobe Acrobat, and most/all PDF readers, will faithfully present the supplied PDF I whatever format it receives them and thus does not reflow the text/images for easy reading based on the platform

6. Epub files are nice but not easily read - same for mobi (which can only be read by a kindle or kindle app)

7. PDF's that are intended to be read on a workstation monitor should be formatted for easy reading that way

a. Don't have multiple columns that cross a page boundary

b. Don't split an article among non-contiguous pages

c. Keep the pages to something that can be easily read on a horizontal display (think 17" display for most sitting around me or smaller if reading on a laptop)

8. Develop a pervasive file format that flows based on the display and is easy to read and replace PDF's by 2020 (or sooner)

Rant off

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Lionel B. Dyck
Mainframe Systems Programmer - TRA


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Paul Gilmartin
2017-10-04 19:39:33 UTC
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Post by Dyck, Lionel B. , TRA
I've received a number of PDF's from different sales organizations and publishers - each one is formatted for a printing.
1. I am not going to print the file to read it
2. I am going to read it on my workstation monitor
3. My workstation monitor is NOT in vertical page format but is landscape orientation
Aah! For the swiveling monitors. Or smartphones with accelerometers!
Post by Dyck, Lionel B. , TRA
4. That means I have to scroll down and then back up for a multi-column page
5. Adobe Acrobat, and most/all PDF readers, will faithfully present the supplied PDF I whatever format it receives them and thus does not reflow the text/images for easy reading based on the platform
That's characteristic of presentation markup.
Post by Dyck, Lionel B. , TRA
8. Develop a pervasive file format that flows based on the display and is easy to read and replace PDF's by 2020 (or sooner)
You're wishing for semantic markup, such as the original, now long since adulterated
design intent of HTML.

Think also of Braille and audio readers.
https://www.anybrowser.org/campaign/

-- gil

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Andrew Rowley
2017-10-05 05:59:25 UTC
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I have to disagree. PDFs should be formatted for printing - if screen is
your primary aim, PDF is the wrong format.

PDF is typically laid out with an intended page size and shape. Screens
on the other hand vary from phones and tablets (portrait or landscape)
through to large screen monitors. Responsive HTML is supposed to be the
solution across all the different screen shapes and sizes.
Post by Dyck, Lionel B. , TRA
I've received a number of PDF's from different sales organizations and publishers - each one is formatted for a printing.
1. I am not going to print the file to read it
2. I am going to read it on my workstation monitor
3. My workstation monitor is NOT in vertical page format but is landscape orientation
4. That means I have to scroll down and then back up for a multi-column page
5. Adobe Acrobat, and most/all PDF readers, will faithfully present the supplied PDF I whatever format it receives them and thus does not reflow the text/images for easy reading based on the platform
6. Epub files are nice but not easily read - same for mobi (which can only be read by a kindle or kindle app)
7. PDF's that are intended to be read on a workstation monitor should be formatted for easy reading that way
a. Don't have multiple columns that cross a page boundary
b. Don't split an article among non-contiguous pages
c. Keep the pages to something that can be easily read on a horizontal display (think 17" display for most sitting around me or smaller if reading on a laptop)
8. Develop a pervasive file format that flows based on the display and is easy to read and replace PDF's by 2020 (or sooner)
--
Andrew Rowley
Black Hill Software
+61 413 302 386

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Dyck, Lionel B. , TRA
2017-10-05 11:16:40 UTC
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I agree - Responsive HTML would be the ideal solution since it is designed to be viewable on many platforms and formats.

That would address part of the issue - the multiple columns and having articles that are non-contiguous are another part of the challenge.

Authors, publishers, vendors should fix this.

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Lionel B. Dyck
Mainframe Systems Programmer - TRA

-----Original Message-----
From: IBM Mainframe Discussion List [mailto:IBM-***@LISTSERV.UA.EDU] On Behalf Of Andrew Rowley
Sent: Thursday, October 05, 2017 1:00 AM
To: IBM-***@LISTSERV.UA.EDU
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Re: Sales PDFs - a rant

I have to disagree. PDFs should be formatted for printing - if screen is your primary aim, PDF is the wrong format.

PDF is typically laid out with an intended page size and shape. Screens on the other hand vary from phones and tablets (portrait or landscape) through to large screen monitors. Responsive HTML is supposed to be the solution across all the different screen shapes and sizes.
Post by Dyck, Lionel B. , TRA
I've received a number of PDF's from different sales organizations and publishers - each one is formatted for a printing.
1. I am not going to print the file to read it
2. I am going to read it on my workstation monitor
3. My workstation monitor is NOT in vertical page format but is landscape orientation
4. That means I have to scroll down and then back up for a multi-column page
5. Adobe Acrobat, and most/all PDF readers, will faithfully present the supplied PDF I whatever format it receives them and thus does not reflow the text/images for easy reading based on the platform
6. Epub files are nice but not easily read - same for mobi (which can only be read by a kindle or kindle app)
7. PDF's that are intended to be read on a workstation monitor should be formatted for easy reading that way
a. Don't have multiple columns that cross a page boundary
b. Don't split an article among non-contiguous pages
c. Keep the pages to something that can be easily read on a horizontal display (think 17" display for most sitting around me or smaller if reading on a laptop)
8. Develop a pervasive file format that flows based on the display and is easy to read and replace PDF's by 2020 (or sooner)
--
Andrew Rowley
Black Hill Software
+61 413 302 386

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Nightwatch RenBand
2017-10-05 15:47:06 UTC
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In the words of Tevye: "From your lips to God's ears".
Yes, PDF's are great and portable, but they are designed for print.
It is high time to come up with something better which will adapt to any
screen format. Print should be secondary these days,

Add on rant... The human eye can do speed reading effectively only when
columns are a few inches wide. Spread text all across a wide screen and
comprehension rate goes straight down. There is a reason newspapers
(remember those) and magazines use columns.

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ITschak Mugzach
2017-10-05 19:11:02 UTC
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Lionel

I promise to create 9x16 screen format brochures next time ;-) although it
was a one pager.

ITschak

בתאריך 5 באוק׳ 2017 5:48 אחה״צ,‏ "Nightwatch RenBand" <
Post by Nightwatch RenBand
In the words of Tevye: "From your lips to God's ears".
Yes, PDF's are great and portable, but they are designed for print.
It is high time to come up with something better which will adapt to any
screen format. Print should be secondary these days,
Add on rant... The human eye can do speed reading effectively only when
columns are a few inches wide. Spread text all across a wide screen and
comprehension rate goes straight down. There is a reason newspapers
(remember those) and magazines use columns.
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Dyck, Lionel B. , TRA
2017-10-05 19:13:22 UTC
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Trust me - you weren't the straw that broke the camel's back ;-)

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Lionel B. Dyck
Mainframe Systems Programmer - TRA


-----Original Message-----
From: IBM Mainframe Discussion List [mailto:IBM-***@LISTSERV.UA.EDU] On Behalf Of ITschak Mugzach
Sent: Thursday, October 05, 2017 2:12 PM
To: IBM-***@LISTSERV.UA.EDU
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Re: Sales PDFs - a rant

Lionel

I promise to create 9x16 screen format brochures next time ;-) although it was a one pager.

ITschak
Post by Nightwatch RenBand
In the words of Tevye: "From your lips to God's ears".
Yes, PDF's are great and portable, but they are designed for print.
It is high time to come up with something better which will adapt to
any screen format. Print should be secondary these days,
Add on rant... The human eye can do speed reading effectively only
when columns are a few inches wide. Spread text all across a wide
screen and comprehension rate goes straight down. There is a reason
newspapers (remember those) and magazines use columns.
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Farley, Peter x23353
2017-10-05 19:28:20 UTC
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Add on requirement:

With a "flowed" format of some sort it would also be worlds easier to just extract text for non-book purposes (like Abe K.'s website of instructions).

The Xpdf batch utility (Linux and Windows) pdftotext does pretty well (using the "-table" option) extracting text from the PoOP and preserving the 2-column format of text and keeping full-page-width tables intact, but then you have to write a 2-column to 1-column process yourself to get at the text. Annoying and quite complex.

Peter

-----Original Message-----
From: IBM Mainframe Discussion List [mailto:IBM-***@LISTSERV.UA.EDU] On Behalf Of Nightwatch RenBand
Sent: Thursday, October 05, 2017 11:48 AM
To: IBM-***@LISTSERV.UA.EDU
Subject: Re: Sales PDFs - a rant

In the words of Tevye: "From your lips to God's ears".
Yes, PDF's are great and portable, but they are designed for print.
It is high time to come up with something better which will adapt to any
screen format. Print should be secondary these days,

Add on rant... The human eye can do speed reading effectively only when
columns are a few inches wide. Spread text all across a wide screen and
comprehension rate goes straight down. There is a reason newspapers
(remember those) and magazines use columns.

--


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Paul Gilmartin
2017-10-05 22:42:22 UTC
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... Responsive HTML ...
It's dismaying that HTML has become so perverted from its original objective
that such a retronym ever arose.

-- gil

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Phil Smith III
2017-10-06 00:27:04 UTC
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Post by Nightwatch RenBand
Yes, PDF's are great and portable, but they are designed for print.
It is high time to come up with something better which will adapt to any
screen format. Print should be secondary these days,
I think that's called "HTML".



<rantofmyown>Alas, all too many "web designers" (insulting quotes
deliberate) are so focused on shiny that they forget the point of what
they're doing: to communicate information. Web pages with popup ads that
cover content; pages that cannot be scrolled using normal techniques; pages
that don't allow opening links in tabs.I could go on, but my blood pressure
is spiking. And I haven't even touched on the pages that simply don't work
IN ANY BROWSER because they're so heavily scripted that they were more or
less untestable. And of course there's no way to report the problem. Some
days I just shake my head and moan that the web is dying.</rantofmyown>


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Paul Gilmartin
2017-10-06 02:36:32 UTC
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Post by Nightwatch RenBand
Add on rant... The human eye can do speed reading effectively only when
columns are a few inches wide. Spread text all across a wide screen and
comprehension rate goes straight down. There is a reason newspapers
(remember those) and magazines use columns.
I could imagine a browser that displayed "responsive HTML" in 2, 3, ... columns at the option of the user. If a document doesn't fit the screen scrolling with up/down arrow keys should snake the columns on the screen.

Unlikely to happen: it's wishing for someone to invent a razor when few
are is willing to supply blades.

Wide graphics are an additional challenge.

-- gil

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Paul Gilmartin
2017-10-06 14:46:49 UTC
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Post by Dyck, Lionel B. , TRA
I've received a number of PDF's from different sales organizations and publishers - each one is formatted for a printing.
1. I am not going to print the file to read it
2. I am going to read it on my workstation monitor
3. My workstation monitor is NOT in vertical page format but is landscape orientation
Each of Adobe Reader and OS X Preview provides a View option to display two
pages side-by-side, nicely fitting a landscape monitor.
Post by Dyck, Lionel B. , TRA
4. That means I have to scroll down and then back up for a multi-column page
But in side-by-side the type may be uncomfortably small for reading.

-- gil

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