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PDF (was Re: mailing list)

From: Todd Fahrner <fahrner@pobox.com>
Date: Fri, 8 Nov 1996 01:20:59 -0800
Message-Id: <v03007804aea8a46634d9@[206.86.219.22]>
To: lee@sq.com
Cc: www-font@w3.org
At 10:05 PM -0500 11/7/96, lee@sq.com wrote:
> > Contrary to popular
> > belief, PDFs are often smaller than the equivalent material in HTML.
>
> Not if you embed fonts...  and if you compress the HTML, you'll find
> that the HTML is usually much smaller.

But the question was "Is there any possible way to embed a font into a web
page??" Font embedding does often (but not always) push the size of PDFs
over what the plain text or HTML version would be, but the question was
about typography, not ascii. Even if you don't embed fonts, Acrobat's
substitution fonts will preserve the layout and much of the style of the
source document absolutely. If OpenType embedding becomes a reality, the
typical size differences between PDF and HTML (rendered pages) will wash
out. HTML will continue to be the more highly manipulable format, and PDF
will continue to be the more powerful presentation medium.

As for compression, your point is well taken, but the fact is that HTML is
not routinely sent down the wire in compressed format. PDF is -  PDF 1.2
(Acrobat 3) files can incorporate redundant JPEG, LZW, CCITT and ZIP
compression. With byteserved PDF 1.2 files designed with browsing in mind,
the browsing experience can be snappier than with HTML.

> Note that some fonts come with a licence that forbids embedding in
> Acrobat files.

This is a very small portion of the fonts in wide commercial use. I know of
no non-controversial alternatives. Do you?

My point is not that PDF is better than HTML in general, but that it is
often unjustly maligned as bloated and suitable only for transmission of
print-format documents.


Todd Fahrner
mailto:fahrner@pobox.com
http://www.verso.com
Received on Friday, 8 November 1996 04:24:11 UTC

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