Reason for PDF Format

Roger Williams roger at
Fri Jan 29 19:21:22 CET 1999

>>>>> Jeffrey Thompson <jeffrey at> writes:

  > The whole idea of going to a PDF file is to take advantage of the
  > additional features that are available through Adobe Acrobat...

But the Acrobat tools are only used to *convert* ("distill") a
Postscript document produced by some other application.  And you don't
actually have to use *any* of Adobe's tools to produce PDFs...

  >    - Improved illustrations

  >    - Improved type-setting: stuff that comes out of TeX isn't the
  >      best quality...

Rubbish.  We produce our glossy illustrated user manuals with LaTeX,
using the same Type1 fonts and high-quality drawings and photographs
that we used in Interleaf or Framemaker.  (Many other people -- Oxford
University Press, say -- use it as a document publishing tool, too.)
We then convert the resulting Postscript to fancy hyperlinked PDF
documents for distribution as on-line documentation with our products.

As with any other DTP application, the person that produces the
document is responsible for the quality of the output.

We haven't used SGML very much, but I had the impression that SGML was
designed to support mixed embedded media, such as images, video, and
sound.  If so, some SMGL application or another should be able to
produce any kind of fancy document you want.

I defend PDF as a useful distribution format.  But I don't confuse the
output format with the tools used to produce the document; and I don't
see any reason that SGML can't be used to produce documents that can
be easily converted into fancy singing, dancing PDF files.

Of course, I have now taken this thread completely off topic...

Roger Williams                         finger me for my PGP public key
Coelacanth Engineering Inc    consulting & turnkey product development
Middleborough, Massachusetts           wireless * datacomm * DSP * ATE
tel +1 508 947-5585 * fax +1 508 861-0278 *

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