8 Replies Latest reply on Nov 20, 2009 2:27 PM by BobInIndy-gJRPTV

    making interactive PDFs...Is prototype not fully functional?

    BobInIndy-gJRPTV Level 1

      I am a business guy (technically savy) who is interested in creating interative PDFs (primarily navigation).


      The mantra of fireworks, design once, export to many is very appealing.  But I don't understand why it refers to the final product as a prototype.


      question 1) The training videos refer to the final interactive PDF created as a prototype.  Why?  What makes it a prototype?  Why isn't it a fully fuctional interactive PDF that can be made more sophisticated by adding forms, etc. ?  If it is a prototype, what program do you use to make it fully functional?  Is that InDesign?  Is Fireworks merly a strating point, to be finished in InDesign? What is disabled to make it only a prototype?


      question 2) This is the same question, but about export to CSS & Images (web site).  I realize you can add far more functinality with Dreamweaver, but isn't the export a fully functional (if simple), web sight?  What is disabled to make it only a prototype?


      Prototype implies to me that it does not produce a useable final product. It has to be made useable or finished by another product.




        • 1. Re: making interactive PDFs...Is prototype not fully functional?
          pixlor Level 4

          Fireworks is intended primarily as a Web graphics tool. It can produce prototypes of Web pages, but the code is not robust, not suitable for a live site, so what you produce out of Fireworks should be considered a prototype.  Fireworks' HTML is intended as a way for the designer to produce a quick mock-up of a page or small site for comment, review, and approval. I imagine that the interactive PDF has the same intention.


          In the case of HTML, the code Fireworks produces is awful and next to impossible to maintain. Depending on the complexity of an interactive PDF, perhaps you will produce something that works satisfactorily for your needs, perhaps not. General publishing is not the focus for Fireworks. If you have a program that produces excellent interactive PDFs, they may be superior to those produced by Fireworks. I would imagine that would be Acrobat?


          It is not that anything in Fireworks is disabled. Rather, Fireworks only has a limited functionality to export...because Fireworks is a Web graphics application, not a Web authoring program nor a general publishing program.

          • 2. Re: making interactive PDFs...Is prototype not fully functional?
            Michel Bozgounov Level 2

            pixlor said it right -- Fireworks can produce great designs, but it is not a tool to produce CSS/XHTML production code or real interactive PDFs. That's why they're called "prototypes".


            If you want robust Web designs and code, learn how to hand-code in Dreamweaver or other similar tool. Leave creation of graphics to Fireworks, Illustrator and Photoshop! (Yep, and Acrobat is better suitable for interactive PDFs!)

            • 3. Re: making interactive PDFs...Is prototype not fully functional?
              BobInIndy-gJRPTV Level 1

              Thanks for you help.


              Interactive PDFs are what I am interested in (not web sites).


              It is very clear to me the path for webs:  Fireworks (optional) -> Dreamweaver -> great web site.


              It is NOT clear at all the path for interactive PDFs.


              It seems to be Fireworks (optional) -> InDesign and some Acrobat 9 pro -> great interactive PDFs.


              But, I am not sure InDesign can build upon Fireworks the way dreamweaver can build upon fireworks.  Also, acrobat itself cannot produce an interactive PDF (no navigation is posssilbe) and InDesign itself cannot produce a full feature set interactive PDF (can only set opening to full screen via Acrobat, can only do forms via Acrobat, etc.).


              The path is just not clear to me (like it is for web design).


              And, I still don't follow what makes a Fireworks PDF a prototype?  Are the graphics degraded?  Is functionality crippled?  Is the feature set in Fireworks designed for show and not really functional?  Is the fireworks design set so simple as to be useless in the real world?  Can you not put in real content text? I think the answer to the above is NO.  And there is no code issue as with HTML.  So, what makes it a prototype?


              I have downloaded the trail for both and will experiment.


              Any other thoughts?  I appreciate your input.



              • 4. Re: making interactive PDFs...Is prototype not fully functional?
                Jim_Babbage Level 4

                I think the term "prototype" is being bandied about a bit too liberally <grin>. Here's my viewpoint: 


                Fireworks can produce finished final artwork for screen. I do this all the time as do many other much more talented Fireworks users. 


                From a web site and application perspective, Fireworks is a prototyping tool. It doesn't build final web sites for applications; it just builds the graphical shell that other applications (such as DW or FC) can use for building out the final product. As a prototyping tool, you can create very realistic representations of the final product, for client feedback and review and to a degree, user testing. One option for gaining feedback from the client is the PDF export. Combined with Acrobat Pro,  you can activate the commenting feature and then this PDF gives you and the client the ability to place feedback right in the PDF just by using Acrobat Reader. In this way it can be a useful tool while designing the site or application, and getting specific feedback from the client within the graphical prototype. 


                The PDF Export could also be a final product, IMO, depending on it's end use. There is no rollover support, video or audio support from within Fireworks or the export process. Likewise for transitional effects. Interactivity though, using the rectangular slice or hotspot tools, is fully functional.  Keep in mind though, that default print resolution in FW is 72 ppi. If you plan on printing out this PDF, you'll want to start with a higher resolution for better printing quality. 



                • 5. Re: making interactive PDFs...Is prototype not fully functional?
                  BobInIndy-gJRPTV Level 1

                  Very helpful, thank you.


                  Then my final question is this:


                  Can inDesign build on an interactive PDF created with FireWorks? (like dream weaver can for a web site).


                  The is no approval needed, I would simply be using FireWorks as a faster way to prototype before moving on to InDesign to finsih the interactive PDF.  Does this makes sense, or should I just skip Fireworks?




                  • 6. Re: making interactive PDFs...Is prototype not fully functional?
                    pixlor Level 4

                    Fireworks and Dreamweaver came to Adobe with the merger with Macromedia. The two programs have always worked together. Adobe is working to increase interoperability between Fireworks and Adobe's long-time graphics applications, Photoshop and Illustrator. Fireworks has always had a Web focus. It's never been intended to be a general graphics editor or publishing application.


                    I don't think anyone else has ever asked about using FW as you are. Just because of its focus, I would say that, if it can't produce exactly what you want, then you probably do want InDesign. But, why not ask on the InDesign forum?


                    • 7. Re: making interactive PDFs...Is prototype not fully functional?
                      Jim_Babbage Level 4

                      I'm unclear as to why you would be using inDesign? What PDF features does it include that are necessary to the creation of your PDF? What is it you hope to add to a completed FW generated PDF?

                      • 8. Re: making interactive PDFs...Is prototype not fully functional?
                        BobInIndy-gJRPTV Level 1

                        Ok, thanks to everyone...


                        The appeal of Fireworks was they mantra (that I heard over and over in the training videos I watched), design once, export to any.  But I now understand the export to PDF is really just to support web design (to let customers comment on proposed web designs).


                        So, this is what I think the work flow is to create a full featured Interactive PDF...

                        Create content in something like Mac Pages...

                        Add navigation and such via InDesign (but, some features you can only add via Acrobat 9 pro)...

                        Add forms and such via Acrobat 9 Pro (small, but significant features not available in InDesign)...

                        Resuts: Finished Interactive PDF with all PDF features possible.


                        Thanks again!