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Re: Adobe And TRACE Launch Enhanced PDF Access Via Email

From: Bruce Bailey <bbailey@clark.net>
Date: Tue, 01 Sep 1998 10:40:53 -0400
Message-ID: <35EC0775.B8CF76FC@clark.net>
To: "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
CC: "T. V. Raman" <raman@Adobe.COM>
If this is what people want, then it is doubtless a good thing that you have made
it available.

1)  Far too many web authors favor form over content and that PDF facilitates
this.  PDF is reminiscent of frames -- another bad idea that just won't go away.
2)  The majority of PDF documents don't use the available features (like thumbnails
and bookmarks).  The most common rational for the use of PDF is to force multiple
columns (an okay idea in print, a lousy idea on the screen).  A document's file
size is increased by roughly a factor of ten (over the plain text version).  The
cost/benefit ratio of PDF is extremely poor, so much so that it must be obvious,
even to dunderheads.
3)  The form-based tool is compatible with Lynx and the Access plug-in for the
Acrobat Reader works with screen readers.  The conversion algorithm has the same
flaws in any case as the email version.

I am curious about where my logic is flawed.  I've read the Adobe propaganda, and I
must confess that I just don't get it.  In my web-surfing experience, PDF are
becoming less common (thank goodness).  I understand that PDF predates HTML and
that some important sites are wedded to the PDF concept (usually sites that see
their mission as providing print resources and not information).  I don't
understand why the request for email conversion was so popular.

Doubtless this has all been debated before.  I do not want to generate a lot of
traffic on this news group about this issue.  I would like to be directed to
resources that address my questions and concerns.  Is there a  news group dedicated
to PDF?  Better yet would be a web site that is not run by Adobe.  Best would be an
archive (of discussion threads) where those of us who are new to the PDF vs HTML
debate can go to get up to speed.


T. V. Raman wrote:

> Adobe And TRACE Launch Enhanced PDF Access Via  Email
> --New service enables conversion via email attachments
> (http://access.adobe.com)
> Adobe Systems and the TRACE Research Center are happy to
> announce a new service to enhance the accessibility of PDF
> documents to visually impaired users.
> Ever since we launched our popular server-based
> accessibility solutions on http://access.adobe.com in
> March 1997, the single most oft voiced request has been the need
> to convert PDF documents on a local disk or CDROM to ASCII
> or HTML.  In response, we have set up a a conversion service
> hosted by the TRACE Research Center (http://trace.wisc.edu).
> You can send PDF documents as email attachments to:
>     pdf2txt@sun.trace.wisc.edu -- for plain text
>     pdf2html@sun.trace.wisc.edu --  for HTML
> and receive the result of the conversion in the reply.
> Adobe would like to thank Dr. Gregg Vanderheiden and the
> TRACE Research Center for helping us host this service.
> Attached is a summary of accessibility services provided by
> Adobe.  Our WWW site (http://access.adobe.com) has been
> revised in conjunction with the launch of this new service;
> please take a momement to visit us and refresh your
> bookmarks.
> --Raman (and the access.adobe.com team)

Received on Tuesday, 1 September 1998 10:37:52 UTC

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