[Pro] embed or otherwise make available pdf

Aside from using Google Docs or Scribd, any ideas on how to embed or otherwise make available a PDF document in a Freeway site? I’ld like to get away from forced downloads, instead giving visitors the option of viewing PDF files online either in a Frame or in another browser window such as Google Docs.

Short of returning to some sort of Flash based system, any suggestions?

I currently simply provide a link to the PDF hosted ftp spot. Bandwidth is not a problem as I have unlimited. It’s more a matter of allowing those who are shifting to Cloud computing to use that sort of platform.

Thanks
Gary


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It’s more a matter of allowing those who are shifting to Cloud computing to use that sort of platform.

It doesn’t matter what other folk are doing in the cloud or not.

The easiest way is to use either the Link to PDF action or the Graphic Link to PDF action. It is a visitors individual browser/settings that will determine whether it will display online or not.

David


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Link to PDF or graphic link-to is the method I’ve used for years. It works, but is a bit awkward for tablet users and for those who are accessing from dialups (yes, they still are out there).

There are a great many people out there who are barely computer literate and it’s those people whom I am trying to provide a smoother interface. At the library I recently retired from, we simply loaded the server side software to host what was needed.

The current crop of server side cloud platforms require logins, signups and so on. Something seemingly simple, but frustrating to many of the less computer savvy out there.

Google Docs is one of the most simplistic but still requires an account. I’ve heard of an embed feature but I haven’t dug it up yet.

That, in a nutshell, is what I am looking for. It’s easy to say the browser settings will dictate what will happen. Your visitor has to know what a browser setting is to begin with. The more I can deliver a ready-to-go site, the happier I and my visitors are.

That’s how librarians and archivists look at the web.


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It works, but is a bit awkward for tablet users and for those who are accessing from dialups (yes, they still are out there).

I am not sure what would change for these users if you were embedding. In what way is the current method awkward for them?

The file size is not going to be any different so speed will be the same issue if on dial up!

D


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I’m not referring to the file size at this point, but to the need to offer the pdf as a readable doc from within the site page rather than from an outside reader, such as Google Docs, or from a browser add-on, or from some other browser specific setting.

Many people don’t want to download a pdf and would prefer to read it from within their browser as you would see in Google Docs. Short of creating a frame for a Google Docs page, I’m looking for a method to embed a similar system such as I used to use in Movable Type and in various Front Page systems.

The point is, people use different browsers and have different levels of experience or lack of knowledge of how to use browsers. Making the document reading experience as smooth as possible is the goal.

I’ve sent an email on to my friend who is also my ISP host, Joomla guy and all around fixit person to see if something can be added to effect this end goal.

My goal is simplicity for the visitor. The visitor should not have to think, is this is a text doc, pdf, or whatever. I can’t count up how many emails we get from visitors who need basic explanations on navigation, document downloads, reader choices, etc.

Back to basic library theory. Make it user friendly and independent of browser settings or addons as you won’t know who is using what OS or what browser.


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here is an example another friend sent along:

http://view.samurajdata.se/

Not fancy, but used at many public libraries as an alternative online pdf and doc viewer:

Gary


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But as PDF is a cross browser/ cross platform file type there should be no need to make things more difficult than letting the browser handle viewing. The viewer doesn’t have to think about it - the browser does the thinking for them.

I think you are trying to over-engineer this.

D


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This is very cool, but what it is doing is taking something with limited accessibility (a PDF) and turning it into something with zero accessibility (a picture of a PDF). You can’t select and copy the text, you can only look at it (assuming you can see). At least a screen reader can take a whack at a PDF and attempt to read it out loud.

Even if you are sighted, you can’t zoom into it to make it larger without making it blurry and harder to read. At least a PDF is vector graphics and you can zoom forever.

Finally, what will Google make of this? The google-bot can read PDF, convert it to HTML for its index, and so a searcher can find content you’ve chosen to encode in this manner.

Walter

On Feb 20, 2012, at 12:15 PM, toolemera wrote:

here is an example another friend sent along:

http://view.samurajdata.se/

Not fancy, but used at many public libraries as an alternative online pdf and doc viewer:

Gary


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Ok D, I can see you are missing the entire point here so I’m not going to pursue this much further. Simply put, there are many people who don’t understand how a browser works, how to adjust browser settings or how to install add-ons. They may or may not know about right click, etc. Their particular OS or machine may or may not allow downloads. And so on.

As a librarian, a fair amount of time goes into problem solving simple browser questions such related to these topics. As volunteer support for various associations, the same goes on. As a site owner for sites that cater to re-enactors, the same thing often happens for people who are computer users but who don’t care to go into the details of how it all works.

Browsers do not do the thinking for anyone. The site designer does that. Each and every browser has it’s own peculiarities. If your goal is a public access site that caters to a museum crowd, you want the friendliest site possible.

You are making the typical mistake people who are comfortable with computers and software make: that everyone has a basic understanding of what makes it all tick. What you don’t get to see or experience are the frustrations of the users who walk away from the websites because things are not going as they want them to. Sometimes there is a librarian or tech person to help out, sometimes a friend but often, no one knows a potential viewer or customer was just lost.

Library systems collect data on just these sort of happenings as a means to improve the user interface, or in many cases, to fight the tide of complexity the hardware and software people insist on throwing into the fray.

Sometimes you have to over-engineer in order to under-engineer the interface. And that is the reality of the end user that most web masters never get to see. Stop in at your local public library and spend some time visiting with the Librarians for a bit.


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Or, what I may end up using is Google Doc Viewer in some form:


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On Feb 20, 2012, at 12:32 PM, toolemera wrote:

You are making the typical mistake people who are comfortable with computers and software make: that everyone has a basic understanding of what makes it all tick. What you don’t get to see or experience are the frustrations of the users who walk away from the websites because things are not going as they want them to. Sometimes there is a librarian or tech person to help out, sometimes a friend but often, no one knows a potential viewer or customer was just lost.

That might be true if the computer in question was purchased years and years ago, and maybe upgraded once or twice by someone unschooled in the Dark Arts. But for anyone who has purchased a computer new in the past three years, PDF Just Works™ in any browser.

(3 years is really being cautious on my part, it’s probably many more – this is how I remember things working in the late '90s.)

Walk into an Apple Store*, type in an address to a page that includes links to PDF content in the browser on any computer or iPad that you see, click on one of those links, and watch what happens.

iOS: The content opens in Safari, and a popover also allows you to view it in iBooks if you want to keep it. You don’t have to choose that but it does no harm if you do. You can zoom, pinch, swipe, etc.

Safari: The content opens inline within the Safari window. You can scroll, zoom, etc.

Do the same in a Microsoft Store (assuming you can find one) or a Best Buy or other Big Box Computer MegaMart. The computers will all have Windows 7 on them any more. Visit the page, click the link, and the browser will invoke whatever application on the PC can view a PDF. (Likely Adobe Reader, maybe just the Flash plug-in, I don’t have one at hand to tell you explicitly.)

This is the way that browsers (and the Web) work. Content that is not HTML is either handled by 1) the browser, 2) a plug-in, or 3) a helper application. The cascade works in that order, and there is no user configuration or interaction needed. The browser truly does decide what to do with any content that is not HTML. Just because the user can also choose to override that decision does not mean that they have to, or even that they have to understand that the option is there. By default, as designed, the content will be handled by the first application or helper in the chain that can handle it.

Walter

*Every night, all the machines in the store are refreshed back to factory stock, all user-added content is removed, fake address book data is restored, etc. These are “as purchased from the store” machines with nothing added.


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The answers I see here today are the responses that give Librarians headaches. Sorry folks, the world is not as swift and clean and neat as you would like to think it is. Media does not last forever, Cloud computing is not the answer, digital publishing is not the end of print publishing and everyone on the face of the earth is not as computer literate as you are.

As it turns out, I worked out my answer with some help from friends in the Joomla community as well as some feedback from Google developers who work on library interface issues.

This is it for me on this topic. One thing I don’t do is debate when no one is hearing.

Gary


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At 12:03 -0500 20/2/12, toolemera wrote:

I’m not referring to the file size at this point, but to the need to
offer the pdf as a readable doc from within the site page rather
than from an outside reader, such as Google Docs, or from a browser
add-on, or from some other browser specific setting.

Many people don’t want to download a pdf and would prefer to read it
from within their browser as you would see in Google Docs. Short of
creating a frame for a Google Docs page, I’m looking for a method to
embed a similar system such as I used to use in Movable Type and in
various Front Page systems.

It has to be downloaded however it’s viewed. If you can see it, the
document you can see must be on your computer. With a browser it’s
normally hidden in the cache, but it’s there, downloaded. All the
Download button does once you can see a PDF document is duplicate the
cache file into your downloads folder.

The point is, people use different browsers and have different
levels of experience or lack of knowledge of how to use browsers.
Making the document reading experience as smooth as possible is the
goal.

I’ve sent an email on to my friend who is also my ISP host, Joomla
guy and all around fixit person to see if something can be added to
effect this end goal.

My goal is simplicity for the visitor. The visitor should not have
to think, is this is a text doc, pdf, or whatever. I can’t count up
how many emails we get from visitors who need basic explanations on
navigation, document downloads, reader choices, etc.

Back to basic library theory. Make it user friendly and independent
of browser settings or addons as you won’t know who is using what OS
or what browser.

Librarians are not that special. Everyone wants to present their
stuff as directly and cleanly as possible. The tool you’re using is
‘The Web’ and you have to work with what it can do. You may not like
it, but there it is. All you as a site developer can do is serve the
content and let the users’ browsers do what they will with it. The
solution for PDFs is simple ( :slight_smile: ) - get your users to use a
browser configured to do what you want it to do.

‘The Web’ has evolved over many years. What it sounds like you’re
wanting is one of those “to get there I wouldn’t start from here”
things.

David


David Ledger - Freelance Unix Sysadmin in the UK.
HP-UX specialist of hpUG technical user group (www.hpug.org.uk)
email@hidden
www.ivdcs.co.uk


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