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Old 12-06-2010, 12:57 PM   #31
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Does anyone want to weigh in on the possibility of standardizing on Adobe's new PDFXML or Mars file format?

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The Mars Project is an XML-friendly representation for PDF documents called PDFXML. PDF, an ISO standard format, is the global standard for trusted, high fidelity electronic documentation. The PDFXML file format incorporates additional industry standards such as SVG, PNG, JPG, JPG2000, OpenType, Xpath and XML into ZIP-based document container.
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Old 12-06-2010, 06:39 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Steven Lyle Jordan View Post
The fact that you "don't consider it" an ebook format does not mean it's not a viable ebook format, any more than my not preferring Mobipocket means that Kindle should not be considered an ebook format.
If this was the case then ereaders would be displaying PDF documents with far more ease than they actually to do.

I think you will find most ereader owners have less than satisfactory experiences trying to effectively read PDF documents on their 5" - 6" ereading devices.

Interestingly enough, Kobo ereader software actually sorts PDF books as documents and not ebooks.
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:56 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by sabredog View Post
If this was the case then ereaders would be displaying PDF documents with far more ease than they actually to do.

I think you will find most ereader owners have less than satisfactory experiences trying to effectively read PDF documents on their 5" - 6" ereading devices.
PCs have absolutely no problem reading PDFs. Small devices that can read tagged PDFs (like my smartphone) have no problems.

The fact that some small and dedicated devices aren't optimized to display PDFs has absolutely no bearing on PDF's viability as an ebook format. That is a limitation of the devices themselves. Criticizing PDF because it doesn't display on some devices is like criticizing the Sony LRF format because it won't play on a Kindle... or criticizing kerosene because you can't use it to drive your Subaru.

Dedicated readers license PDF-reading software to allow them to read PDFs. As I said earlier, if they cut costs by licensing a third-party PDF reader that can't handle tagged PDF formats... or their software can't handle an Adobe PDF reader... whose fault is that? The PDF? No: The hardware and its maker is at fault.

Put blame where it is due... on the faulty hardware, not the viable format.
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:55 PM   #34
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CRITICISE?

Where in hell did I criticise PDF? I have said several times here that I use PDF format documents and issue PDF A1 engineering plans every day!

As I said before, PDF is a perfect document format for display on a PC. But I believe it is not an ebook format, certainly not suitable for use in the current generation of ereaders which struggle to display them.

That is NOT a criticism.
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Old 12-07-2010, 07:25 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Steven Lyle Jordan View Post
Criticizing PDF because it doesn't display on some devices is like ... or criticizing kerosene because you can't use it to drive your Subaru.
Does that accurately represent the issue?

The original link criticized PDF because it was less accessible to visually-impaired users. They weren't diminishing what PDF does well, they were criticizing it for what it doesn't do and wasn't originally intended to do. And of course readers of this forum hold it's poor performance on eReaders against it also.

In your analogy, it should be perfectly proper to criticize the adoption of kerosene as a standard fuel because there are lots of people that drive cars that can't use it.
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:18 PM   #36
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Does that accurately represent the issue?

The original link criticized PDF because it was less accessible to visually-impaired users. They weren't diminishing what PDF does well, they were criticizing it for what it doesn't do and wasn't originally intended to do....
Not quite correct.

The original link is to some rather pointless study, which basically says that Australian bureaucrats need to be trained to prepare better PDFs (like, don't import an image of a scanned page).

The title is hardly accurate, given the scope of the study and its recommendations.

Then some attacked PDF as a proprietary format, which it is not.

The bottom line is, most PDFs are perfectly compatible with text-to-speech and the free Adobe Reader has provided such capabilities for years.

But somehow the format gets blamed, because the creators of some of the custom software used by blind people have failed to integrate the standard into their products.

It's akin to dismissing PDF or EPUB because Amazon has failed to implement them well in the Kindle.

And as to books in PDF format, it would be the only format I would personally purchase, if there were any 11"+ readers, because PDF is currently the best way I know to preserve the layout and typography of books.
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Old 12-07-2010, 11:08 PM   #37
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And as to books in PDF format, it would be the only format I would personally purchase, if there were any 11"+ readers, because PDF is currently the best way I know to preserve the layout and typography of books.
Oh grief!

Well, to each his own, I guess. As for me, I don't want to preserve format, unless it's a table or something where the format contains information. For most things I just want to read the text.

For example, since I currently am forced to use Windows at work, I have Outlook configured to convert HTML to text so I get rid of all the screwy fonts and colors people pick for their emails.

As for how well PDF actually works for the blind--I have no idea, but I think my comments on the kerosene analogy were accurate.
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Old 12-08-2010, 12:45 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by sabredog View Post
As I said before, PDF is a perfect document format for display on a PC. But I believe it is not an ebook format, certainly not suitable for use in the current generation of ereaders which struggle to display them.

That is NOT a criticism.
PDF is plenty suitable for display on ebook readers--if it's designed for them. See attached. PDFs that are designed for printing on letter/A4 paper, are likely to have some problems on a 6" screen. PDFs made from scans of hardcover books are also going to have some problems.

PDF is as much an ebook format as RTF or HTML, and like them, how well it works for reading depends on hardware, software, and design of the original. There is no difference between "real" ebook formats and "just document" formats.
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File Type: pdf Doctorow_Content_4excerpts.pdf (109.5 KB, 98 views)
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:08 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
PDF is plenty suitable for display on ebook readers--if it's designed for them. See attached. PDFs that are designed for printing on letter/A4 paper, are likely to have some problems on a 6" screen. PDFs made from scans of hardcover books are also going to have some problems.
That I can agree with, IF the PDF is made ground up for display on a 5" or 6" ereader. In reality though. most PDF's are formatted for A4 size paper from point of source. Perfectly fine to be read on a PC but not on a smaller screen.

Anyway, the original posting was made in regards to disability access and PDF's downloaded from Federal Government websites. It will be interesting to see the responses from the various public service departments in response to the report.

Last edited by sabredog; 12-08-2010 at 01:13 AM.
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Old 12-08-2010, 12:30 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sabredog View Post
As I said before, PDF is a perfect document format for display on a PC. But I believe it is not an ebook format, certainly not suitable for use in the current generation of ereaders which struggle to display them.

That is NOT a criticism.
Okay, I withdraw the word, though not my stance.

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In your analogy, it should be perfectly proper to criticize the adoption of kerosene as a standard fuel because there are lots of people that drive cars that can't use it.
Actually, no: If a car is not designed to run on kerosene, it is unfair to criticize the car (or, for that matter, the kerosene) because you can't put kerosene into the car to run it. If a car is designed to run on kerosene, and it will not, you have a reason to criticize the car. If kerosene is intended to use as a replacement for gasoline in existing cars, and it does not work, you have a reason to criticize the kerosene.

In our case, we have kerosene (PDF), suitable to burn in some engines... but then new engines are built, designed to run on gasoline (ePub, Mobi, etc), and the kerosene doesn't work in the new engines. This is not the fault of the kerosene... in fact, it's not even the fault of the new engines, if they were not intended to run on kerosene. If anything, it's the fault of whoever decided that the new engines did not need to run on kerosene, and to heck with anyone who's still using kerosene, they're SOL.

In effect, those who have decided not to support common formats (like compliant PDFs) on their devices are intentionally dividing up the market, to its detriment.
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Old 12-10-2010, 10:10 AM   #41
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PDF is plenty suitable for display on ebook readers--if it's designed for them. See attached. PDFs that are designed for printing on letter/A4 paper, are likely to have some problems on a 6" screen. PDFs made from scans of hardcover books are also going to have some problems.
I've yet to see a pdf offer by a publisher that fits my 5" scren. Or even the 6".

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There is no difference between "real" ebook formats and "just document" formats.
There is.
Pdf was desined to get a fix layout. To have document to display and print. It's prety good at that.
E-book format where designed to be use on e-readers, with reflow and all.

Last edited by EowynCarter; 12-10-2010 at 10:13 AM.
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Old 12-10-2010, 02:09 PM   #42
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E-book format where designed to be use on e-readers, with reflow and all.
PDFs reflow. I read reflowable PDFs on my smartphone. If they don't reflow on your reader, either they were not made properly, or your reader has substandard third-party PDF reading SW on it.
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Old 12-10-2010, 03:07 PM   #43
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PDFs reflow. I read reflowable PDFs on my smartphone. If they don't reflow on your reader, either they were not made properly, or your reader has substandard third-party PDF reading SW on it.
More often than not, the PDF wasn't made properly. Export-to-PDF from many programs doesn't create tagged, reflowable PDFs; you get PDFs with a hard return at the end of every line of text.

The real issue is publishers considering PDF as a "looks just like the printed book!" format, instead of treating it like just another ebook format that they'll have to consider how to set up for ebook reading.
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Old 12-11-2010, 10:36 PM   #44
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More often than not, the PDF wasn't made properly. Export-to-PDF from many programs doesn't create tagged, reflowable PDFs; you get PDFs with a hard return at the end of every line of text.

The real issue is publishers considering PDF as a "looks just like the printed book!" format, instead of treating it like just another ebook format that they'll have to consider how to set up for ebook reading.
As I said... this isn't the PDF format's fault, nor is it a reason to say it's not an ebook format. This is a reason to retrain publishers to create properly-formatted PDFs using proper software.
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:27 AM   #45
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As I said... this isn't the PDF format's fault, nor is it a reason to say it's not an ebook format. This is a reason to retrain publishers to create properly-formatted PDFs using proper software.
Of course it is the formats fault in some sense. As far as i know there is no mandatory way to distinguish between a re-flowable and a non-re-flowable pdf. So since that is not built in in the format we will automatically get the situation that different tools will export in different ways. Also the lack of a free implementation of re-flow have been a hinder and this lack is indirectly related to the format.
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