28 Replies Latest reply on Jun 18, 2011 9:22 AM by M.A.S.T.

    using PDF instead of HTML

    M.A.S.T. Level 1

      To whom it may concern at Adobe,

       

      After careful consideration of the numerous present technologies for website content (including HTML, PHP, Java, JavaScript, MySQL, etc, and systems like Typo3, Joomla, etc), we decided to drop everything in favour of PDF, being both an ISO standard and the standard de facto for office documentation. Everybody has Acrobat Reader installed, the browser plugin is also installed, and therefore everybody is able to display an http://.../index.pdf. Problems that are common to other websites, such as SQL injection, the need to keep a backup of the SQL server, the demand for space (the bare installation of typo3 demands 1GB of server space), for example, they are problems that we simply do not want to have. Today, as a result of the initial considerations and subsequent development, a singe index.pdf file of 200K holds our entire website. Dynamic content is loaded by included swfs that read various .xml files. The website displays beautifully on a Mac with Safari and Acrobat X, or on Windows XP with any browser. There are a few problems, however, that are still pending. We describe them here.

       

      The call of index.pdf from index.html may result into a blank page, and the Acrobat Reader plugin makes no effort to inform and help the human client. It turns out that Acrobat Reader v10 is not available on all platforms. For example, linux (ubuntu v11) and solaris (v11) still have Acrobar Reader v9. On linux or solaris you see a "3d data parsing error'' each time you open a page with included swf. This does not happen all the times. It only happens if your installed version is different than version 9.2. Both 9.3 and 9.4 show the above error. This is a manyfold problem, because the latest version on those systems is version 9.4; version 10 is not available from Adobe and most people are not willing to downgrade to version 9.2, which is also not available from the system's default package manager. Other systems are not devoid of problems. On Apple OSX, for example, the plugin is only available for Safari. If your default browser is Firefox, or Chrome, or Opera, you cannot see the index.pdf. You are forced to use Safari. On Apple iOS, even Safari fails to run the index.pdf, because Acrobat Reader is not avilable for that platform. We solved most of these problems via an HTML+JavaScript loader that performs a compatibility check up. If all tests are successful, then the HTML calls the PDF. If the tests fail, then a courtesy message appears, explaining the problem(s) and describing the steps that the user must execute to solve the problem(s). If the user does not want to use the Acrobat plugin, then the user is redirected to the RSS feeds. The whole website is built upon RSS feeds, and thus the user has access to (most of) the website content. You can read this code at the following address: http://www.MadreAcqua.org/index.html. This is not sufficient, however. We had people with Acrobat Reader X installed on Adobe supported systems, but their browser plugin was still version 9; it turned out that the update of the Reader application failed to update the Reader plugin. On Windows 7+updates, with Firefox 4+updates and Acrobat Reader 10+ updates, the index.pdf does not display the included swfs. We remark that it works on Windows XP+updates and Adobe Reader 10 with any browser. The failure on Windows 7 is therefore a mistery. There are also people who are sick and tired of updating Acrobat Reader by hand, or do not have the skill or time to do it. This is also the source of recent security concerns.

       

      The following are additional problems.

       

      1. The index.pdf includes SWFs for its dynamic parts (RSS readers and video). Sometimes, randomly, the SWFs do either of the following: they disappear (the only way to make them appear again is to click on their area); they disappear and reappear like christmas lights (the only way to make them stop is to reload the page); they also disappear or reappear when resizing the browser's window.

       

      2. The mouse wheel flips the pages instead of scrolling. More precisely, each page of the website is displayed in full. If one scrolls, however, the engine should try scrolling, find that the page is displayed in full, and therefore nothing should happen. Instead, the engine shows the next page of the PDF. The PDF was built with the "single page view" flag, but the engine forces the "Enable Scrolling" mode. This seems to be a bug of Adobe Reader. 

       

       

      In summary, dear Adobe, please ensure that all platforms have the same version of Acrobat Reader plugin, and that the plugin is automatically updated, similarly to Flash Player 10.3. A single plugin (pdf+swf) would also be useful to have. Please also make an official loader as part of the plugin, both to solve (most of) the above problems and rise your own awareness of them. Failure to do so implies your failure to offer sound competition to HTML++.

       

       

      Best regards,

      M.A.S.T.

        • 1. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
          Dave Merchant MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          While you've clearly done a lot of work personally, PDF is absolutely NOT intended to be a language for building entire websites. PDFs are renditions of "printed" documents - they can be on a website, but for hundreds of reasons should not be a website.

          • 2. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
            Claudio González Most Valuable Participant

            Unfortunately, these forums are NOT a way to contact Adobe, being mostly user to users forums. If I were you, I would post all those thoughtful suggestions here:

             

            https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
              M.A.S.T. Level 1

              Re: Dave Merchant

              why?

               

              Besides, you can write a PDF with included SWF for printing, but when you print it, the content of the included SWF does not show up on paper. This is part of our list of bugs.

               

               

              Re: Claudio González

              Done. Thank you.

               

              Re: sinaliun

              off topic

              • 4. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                M.A.S.T. Level 1

                Addenda to the above list of problems.

                 

                Acrobat Reader plugin vX runs faster on a MacBook Pro core2duo than on a HP laptop with windows 7 i7. This is evident by merely clicking on links.

                 

                M.A.S.T.

                • 5. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                  370H55V Level 4

                  Besides, you can write a PDF with included SWF for printing, but when you print it, the content of the included SWF does not show up on paper. This is part of our list of bugs.

                  This IS NOT a bug. You cannot print an SWF anymore than you can print a video or MP3. An SWF is DYNAMIC (motion) content and therefore is not printable outside of a still frame, but unless you have enabled still frames through actionscript, it's IMPOSSIBLE. There is nothing Adobe can ever do to change that. It's reality.

                  • 6. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                    370H55V Level 4
                    Acrobat Reader plugin vX runs faster on a MacBook Pro core2duo than on a HP laptop with windows 7 i7. This is evident by merely clicking on links.

                     

                     

                    Adobe DOES NOT make hardware, processors or whole computers, and is in no way responsible for the performance variances in differing machines.

                    • 7. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                      M.A.S.T. Level 1

                      ActionScript is a programming language, not a video projector.

                       

                      It is possible to use ActionScript to display text that fits within a frame smaller than the page. You see the portion of text that you selected with the scrollbar, and see the head of the text otherwise. The text is rendered on screen and sits there, unless you touch the scrollbar. There is no poster, and no poster is wanted. This is the behaviour when "printing" the pdf on screen. However, when printing on paper, the relevant space of the page remains empty, instead of showing the head of the text, or the selected text. This is a bug of Acrobat Reader.

                      • 8. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                        M.A.S.T. Level 1

                        The above reference to CPUs says that the same software runs faster on a core2duo than an i7. The claim is also qualified by the different operating systems. The cause of the problem is a software problem. Adobe writes the software "Acrobat Reader", it does it for various software platforms, and is responsible for the quality of its software. Adobe must investigate why its Acrobat Reader is faster on Apple OS 10.6.7 with a 4 generations old CPU than on Windows 7 with an i7.

                        • 9. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                          370H55V Level 4

                          Adobe must investigate why its Acrobat Reader is faster on Apple OS  10.6.7 with a 4 generations old CPU than on Windows 7 with an i7.

                           

                          MUST?

                           

                          Adobe doesn't have to investigate anything. It's not their place to optimize every system on earth.

                           

                          Bottom line: You can build a PDF website if you want. Yours will be the only PDF website on the entire Internet. It will totally suck because PDF is NOT a viable format for building web pages or sites, and in spite of that you will still think the entire universe should change the way they do things because your holiness has decreed it to be the best way.

                           

                          And things run faster on Apple OS because the OS doesn't suck up 75% of the CPU just to run like WIndows does.

                          • 10. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                            M.A.S.T. Level 1

                            Steve Job's description of Adobe as "lazy" now begins to make sense.

                             

                            M.A.S.T.

                            • 11. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                              M.A.S.T. Level 1

                              Feature of the day, just filed.

                               

                               

                              *******Enhancement / FMR*********

                              Brief title for your desired feature:

                              In version 9 of Adobe Reader, the menu entry "check for updates" does not inform about the existence of version 10.

                               

                              How would you like the feature to work?

                              Inform about the existence of version 10 for supported platforms.

                               

                              Why is this feature important to you?

                              Because we are sick and tired of telling people to upgrade, both for security reasons and functionality.

                              • 12. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                                try67 MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                It's very easy not to be "lazy" when you have full control over the hardware on which your software runs, not to mention the OS and most other environment variables.

                                I would like to see Apple's software (brilliant as it is) run on an endless combination of hardware and OS configurations. Only then it could be compared to PC software.

                                • 13. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                                  370H55V Level 4

                                  "Brief title for your desired feature:

                                  In version 9 of Adobe Reader, the menu entry "check for updates" does not inform about the existence of version 10."

                                   

                                  At the time Reader nine was released, there was NO SUCH THING as Reader 10. It didn't exist.

                                   

                                  I'm curious. Do you actually READ this stuff before you post it?

                                   

                                  "How would you like the feature to work?

                                  Inform about the existence of version 10 for supported platforms."

                                   

                                  I agree it should.... it should also inform about versions 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, ad infinitum until the end of time too.

                                   

                                  I'm curious. Do you actually READ this stuff before you post it?

                                   

                                  "Why is this feature important to you?

                                  Because we are sick and tired of telling people to upgrade, both for security reasons and functionality."

                                   

                                  You know that you are under no legal obligation to update anything. If you visit http://oldversion.com/Acrobat%20Reader.html you can download Adobe Reader version 1 if you feel so inclined, and you will be able to view hardly any PDFs at all, including PDF websites. It's entirely up to you.

                                   

                                  I'm curious. Do you actually READ this stuff before you post it?

                                  • 14. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                                    M.A.S.T. Level 1

                                    > At the time Reader nine was released, there was NO SUCH THING as Reader 10. It didn't exist.

                                     

                                    Where is the problem here? Adobe can release an update for version 9 that makes it aware of version 10, then perform the actual update to version 10.

                                     

                                    > I agree it should.... it should also inform about versions 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, ad infinitum until the end of time too.

                                     

                                    It would be easier to just release the source code, once.

                                     

                                    > You know that you are under no legal obligation to update anything. If you visithttp://oldversion.com/Acrobat%20Reader.html you can download Adobe Reader version 1 if you feel so inclined, and you will be able to view hardly any PDFs at all, including PDF websites. It's entirely up to you.

                                     

                                    The recent security attacks are all based upon people still using version 9, and Adobe did not gain in reputation because of it. There is also a loss in functionality, both because version 9.2 can display inline swf while 9.3 and 9.4 trigger a still unpatched "3d data parsing error", and version 10 is not available on all platforms.

                                     

                                    It is not clear whether you work for Adobe or its competitors.

                                    It is clear, however, that the present Reader is not good enough for our purpose.

                                     

                                    e.o.f.

                                     

                                    The original message was:

                                     

                                    To whom it may concern at Adobe,

                                     

                                     

                                    After careful consideration of the numerous present technologies for website content (including HTML, PHP, Java, JavaScript, MySQL, etc, and systems like Typo3, Joomla, etc), we decided to drop everything in favour of PDF, being both an ISO standard and the standard de facto for office documentation. Everybody has Acrobat Reader installed, the browser plugin is also installed, and therefore everybody is able to display an http://.../index.pdf. Problems that are common to other websites, such as SQL injection, the need to keep a backup of the SQL server, the demand for space (the bare installation of typo3 demands 1GB of server space), for example, they are problems that we simply do not want to have. Today, as a result of the initial considerations and subsequent development, a singe index.pdf file of 200K holds our entire website. Dynamic content is loaded by included swfs that read various .xml files. The website displays beautifully on a Mac with Safari and Acrobat X, or on Windows XP with any browser. There are a few problems, however, that are still pending. We describe them here.

                                     

                                    The call of index.pdf from index.html may result into a blank page, and the Acrobat Reader plugin makes no effort to inform and help the human client. It turns out that Acrobat Reader v10 is not available on all platforms. For example, linux (ubuntu v11) and solaris (v11) still have Acrobar Reader v9. On linux or solaris you see a "3d data parsing error'' each time you open a page with included swf. This does not happen all the times. It only happens if your installed version is different than version 9.2. Both 9.3 and 9.4 show the above error. This is a manyfold problem, because the latest version on those systems is version 9.4; version 10 is not available from Adobe and most people are not willing to downgrade to version 9.2, which is also not available from the system's default package manager. Other systems are not devoid of problems. On Apple OSX, for example, the plugin is only available for Safari. If your default browser is Firefox, or Chrome, or Opera, you cannot see the index.pdf. You are forced to use Safari. On Apple iOS, even Safari fails to run the index.pdf, because Acrobat Reader is not avilable for that platform. We solved most of these problems via an HTML+JavaScript loader that performs a compatibility check up. If all tests are successful, then the HTML calls the PDF. If the tests fail, then a courtesy message appears, explaining the problem(s) and describing the steps that the user must execute to solve the problem(s). If the user does not want to use the Acrobat plugin, then the user is redirected to the RSS feeds. The whole website is built upon RSS feeds, and thus the user has access to (most of) the website content. You can read this code at the following address: http://www.MadreAcqua.org/index.html. This is not sufficient, however. We had people with Acrobat Reader X installed on Adobe supported systems, but their browser plugin was still version 9; it turned out that the update of the Reader application failed to update the Reader plugin. On Windows 7+updates, with Firefox 4+updates and Acrobat Reader 10+ updates, the index.pdf does not display the included swfs. We remark that it works on Windows XP+updates and Adobe Reader 10 with any browser. The failure on Windows 7 is therefore a mistery. There are also people who are sick and tired of updating Acrobat Reader by hand, or do not have the skill or time to do it. This is also the source of recent security concerns.

                                     

                                    The following are additional problems.

                                     

                                     

                                    1. The index.pdf includes SWFs for its dynamic parts (RSS readers and video). Sometimes, randomly, the SWFs do either of the following: they disappear (the only way to make them appear again is to click on their area); they disappear and reappear like christmas lights (the only way to make them stop is to reload the page); they also disappear or reappear when resizing the browser's window.

                                     

                                    2. The mouse wheel flips the pages instead of scrolling. More precisely, each page of the website is displayed in full. If one scrolls, however, the engine should try scrolling, find that the page is displayed in full, and therefore nothing should happen. Instead, the engine shows the next page of the PDF. The PDF was built with the "single page view" flag, but the engine forces the "Enable Scrolling" mode. This seems to be a bug of Adobe Reader.

                                     

                                     

                                     

                                    In summary, dear Adobe, please ensure that all platforms have the same version of Acrobat Reader plugin, and that the plugin is automatically updated, similarly to Flash Player 10.3. A single plugin (pdf+swf) would also be useful to have. Please also make an official loader as part of the plugin, both to solve (most of) the above problems and rise your own awareness of them. Failure to do so implies your failure to offer sound competition to HTML++.

                                     

                                     

                                     

                                    Best regards,

                                    M.A.S.T.

                                     

                                     

                                    Message was edited by: M.A.S.T.

                                    • 15. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                                      370H55V Level 4

                                      It's quite clear by your posts that you have absolutely no connection with reality, so I'm done with this thread.

                                       

                                      Best of luck to you in your little world.

                                       

                                      Be sure to let us know how the PDF Internet comes along.

                                      • 16. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                                        try67 MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                        I agree with M.A.S.T. on this point. I don't see why it's so ridiculous to

                                        inform the users that there's a new version of the application available.

                                        Actually, Reader already does this if the PDF version of a file is newer

                                        than what the application was built for.

                                        1 person found this helpful
                                        • 17. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                                          M.A.S.T. Level 1

                                          Yet another bug...

                                           

                                          info via RSS:

                                          http://www.adobe.com/support/security/bulletins/apsb11-16.html

                                          "Security updates available for Adobe Reader and Acrobat

                                          Release date: June 14, 2011

                                          Adobe recommends users of Adobe Reader X (10.0.3) and earlier versions for Windows and Macintosh update to Adobe Reader X (10.1)."

                                           

                                           

                                          info via Adobe Reader's menu "Check for Updates" for version 10.0.3:

                                          "Adobe Reader is already up to date. Adobe doesn't have any updates at this time. You can upgrade Adobe Reader automatically in the future by changing your Adobe Reader preferences."

                                           

                                          Exactly the same problem occurs also for the Flash Player,

                                          not able to upgrade to 10.3.181.26 by itself.

                                           

                                          M.A.S.T.

                                          • 18. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                                            Neelam Y. Level 1

                                            "Check for Updates" is working fine for me and it has updated my Reader 10.0.1 to 10.1.

                                             

                                            Could you please retry and see if its working for you now?

                                            • 19. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                                              M.A.S.T. Level 1

                                              We have installed manually. Will check again at the next update...

                                              • 20. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                                                Dave Merchant MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                                Not a bug - you're embedding it wrong.

                                                 

                                                If you embed a SWF file using legacy mode (Acrobat 8 and earlier) then it will never print, as it is never part of the PDF page. Legacy content is an annotation which is run through an external program (in the case of legacy SWF, a desktop copy of Flash Player). For security reasons there is no communication between the PDF print engine and that external program, so when you print the PDF you'll see nothing except the poster images.

                                                 

                                                If however you embed your SWF in native Acrobat 9+ mode, it will play using the embedded copy of Flash Player and will print, provided you select "document and markups" from the print options menu, and on paper it will look exactly as it does on the screen at the moment you press the Print button, provided the SWF correctly-handles Stage scaling.

                                                 

                                                Besides, you can write a PDF with included SWF for printing, but when you print it, the content of the included SWF does not show up on paper. This is part of our list of bugs.
                                                • 21. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                                                  Dave Merchant MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                                  The release of a new update is a staggered process that happens over a couple of hours, due to the large number of different places the information is posted and the people posting it. The PSIRT blog went live shortly before the AUM network received the payload, so running a "Check for Updates" at the instant the blog appeared did indeed report no updates, but the whole point of PSIRT is to pre-warn enterprise IT users of something about to come down the pipe - not something that's already landed. The enterprise installer payloads were online at the time, and very few people do this manual check in response to a message on an RSS feed.

                                                   

                                                  Both Acrobat and Adobe Reader are now updating automatically across the deployed customer base thanks to the AUM poll when the application is opened. This not only ensures that users are presented with the update without having to read about it first, but that the load on Adobe's distribution network is managed.

                                                  • 22. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                                                    M.A.S.T. Level 1

                                                    We confirm that the "Document and Markup" option prints the SWF content. The embedding was done correctly. We will look into JavaScript to enable the above option automatically, if possible. Stage scaling works. The text comes out blue instead of black, however. Will look into it.

                                                     

                                                    We still have many other little problems, as described above, and hope to find answers.

                                                     

                                                    Thank you for the explanation about the faulty updates. Will check this again next time.

                                                     

                                                    M.A.S.T.

                                                    • 23. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                                                      try67 MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                                      Check the PrintParams object, especially the printContent property.

                                                      • 24. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                                                        M.A.S.T. Level 1

                                                        The JavaScript API allows qualification of the default preferences only if one triggers this.print, hence the need for an unwanted button attached to the folllowing code:

                                                         

                                                          var pp = this.getPrintParams();

                                                          pp.printContent = pp.constants.printContents.docAndComments;

                                                          //this.print(pp);

                                                         

                                                        One would like to write the following instead, with no need for buttons:

                                                         

                                                          this.setPrintParams({

                                                            docAndComments: true;

                                                          });

                                                         

                                                        The present JavaScript API does not seem to allow this, however.

                                                         

                                                        --MAST

                                                        • 25. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                                                          Dave Merchant MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                                          It's the default for installations of Acrobat and Reader, precisely to avoid document authors having to set it manually.

                                                           

                                                          We confirm that the "Document and Markup" option prints the SWF content. The embedding was done correctly. We will look into JavaScript to enable the above option automatically, if possible.
                                                          • 26. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                                                            M.A.S.T. Level 1

                                                            Then I have to trace where and why it fails...

                                                            • 28. Re: using PDF instead of HTML
                                                              M.A.S.T. Level 1

                                                              The Reader plugin is selecting "doc and markups" automatically with pdf v 1.7.8 (Acrobat 10), 1.7.3 (Actrobat 9), 1.7.0 (Acrobat 8), and 1.6.0 (Acrobat 7). We did not see it, because we were printing from the desktop file instead of the website. Reader and Reader plugin behave differently in this respect.

                                                               

                                                              The other problems are still pending.