Re: PDFs for user-guide, accessibility-guide and system-admin-guide

On Wed, 2006-03-08 at 10:32 +0100, Emmanuel Pacaud wrote:
> Le mercredi 08 mars 2006 à 09:13 +0100, Alexander Larsson a écrit :
> > On Tue, 2006-03-07 at 22:57 -0700, Brent Smith wrote:
> > > I've been working on generating some new PDFs for the documentation in
> > > the gnome-user-docs package.  I've come up with some build scripts[1]
> > > that  generate some decent output using Apache's FOP and Norman Walsh's
> > > DocBook -> XSL-FO stylesheets.
> > > 
> > > The generated PDFs are available at:
> > > 
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > 
> > Wow. These are pretty nice. Is there a chance we could pehaps make yelp
> > display this instead of the html-based versions? Evince manages to
> > render it with a nice index-tree sidebar and everything, so it seems
> > equivalent feature-wise.
> I don't think PDF is well suited for on screen reading. Font rendering
> and glyph spacing make document harder to read than when it's in html.
> Other points against PDF is that HTML rendering is faster, and page
> layout of PDF files leaves a lot of unused space (page borders, space
> between pages) with no gain regarding readability.

I agree that PDF has a lot of disadvantages compared to HTML, and my
proposal wasn't really what I'd call well thought through. However, I
still think that reading e.g. the user guide pdf has a couple of
advantages to the current yelp html docs.

For instance, if I was to actually read a large part of the user guide
(instead of just look up some particular section in it) I'd prefer the
pdf. With the html version the reading experience is very chopped up
because the displayed sections are often very short, and you have to
mouse around to find the "next section" link. Its also much harder to
browse the document just looking for interesting stuff. And, as
mentioned before, the pdf version prints better. 

Of course, much of this isn't really due to inherent pdf vs html format
issues, but rather that the pdf is flowed over a continuous set of pages
that are easy to flip through, while the html is chopped up into small
sections that are sort of awkward to move between. Maybe we could just
format the html into larger chunks? Say one chapter instead of the
smallest level section in the document.

 Alexander Larsson                                            Red Hat, Inc 
                   alexl redhat com    alla lysator liu se 
He's a suicidal amnesiac matador with acid for blood. She's a bloodthirsty 
hip-hop hooker living on borrowed time. They fight crime! 

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