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RE: Adobe And TRACE Launch Enhanced PDF Access Via Email

From: Robert Neff <rcn@fenix2.dol-esa.gov>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 1998 12:13:44 -0400
Message-ID: <01BDD5A1.F7C55E80.rcn@fenix2.dol-esa.gov>
To: "'Bruce Bailey'" <bbailey@clark.net>, "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: "T. V. Raman" <raman@Adobe.COM>
I have found PDF to be an asset - when used right.  I can deliver a 
document that can be seen AND PRINTED by anyone with the viewer.  This can 
deliver technical and graphical documents and display tables, graphs, and 

I have had to prepare and post many technical documents while maintaining 
content and security and this was the easiest solution. See 
http://www.dtic.mil/jwars/library.html - I have since moved on.  PDF was a 
blessing.  We received multiple formats and were able to post to the web 
with ease.  At that time the HTML authoring tools were ancient.  Though 
they have improved, I do not wish to think of the mess if I still had to 
put these up in HTML.  Oh, I could post them in HTML and make graphics out 
of the images and tables...  But I could not guarantee they would print 

PDF has its uses!

Please note, at the time of the documents' creation, WAI was not well 
known.  If I had to do it all over, I would still convert the files to PDF 
and post, but  then I would also then convert to HTML and post.

We used the bookmarks and thumbnail.  We would not use it for every file as 
this increase the file size.


-----Original Message-----
From:	Bruce Bailey [SMTP:bbailey@clark.net]
Sent:	Tuesday, September 01, 1998 10:41 AM
To:	w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Cc:	T. V. Raman
Subject:	Re: Adobe And TRACE Launch Enhanced PDF Access Via  Email

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 
this.  PDF is reminiscent of frames -- another bad idea that just won't go 
2)  The majority of PDF documents don't use the available features (like 
and bookmarks).  The most common rational for the use of PDF is to force 
columns (an okay idea in print, a lousy idea on the screen).  A document's 
size is increased by roughly a factor of ten (over the plain text version). 
cost/benefit ratio of PDF is extremely poor, so much so that it must be 
even to dunderheads.
3)  The form-based tool is compatible with Lynx and the Access plug-in for 
Acrobat Reader works with screen readers.  The conversion algorithm has the 
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 
becoming less common (thank goodness).  I understand that PDF predates HTML 
that some important sites are wedded to the PDF concept (usually sites that 
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 
resources that address my questions and concerns.  Is there a  news group 
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 
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 12:15:54 UTC

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