[nycbug-talk] editting pdf's... (dot dot dot)

Isaac Levy ike
Wed Feb 23 12:14:47 EST 2005

Hi Okan, George, All,

- my quickie .02?,

On Feb 22, 2005, at 11:01 PM, Okan Demirmen wrote:

> obivously the faxing thing is not an issue (faxmodem+hylafax), nor
> the emailing part;) the part about filling out forms that come
> across the wire as pdf. i'm aware that adobe can edit certain
> "fillable" pdf forms, but the majority of stuff out there is not
> of that type - besides, i'm not going to bye adobe to fill this gap ;)

/me winces:
I've worked with these PDF forms systems since their baby days, (98'?), 
and in the end, it's the same deal as Word docs.  The PDF specification 
is open, but all the form stuff, is extra stuff that Adobe has layered 
in on top- muddy territory, I don't think it's all open spec stuff that 
Adobe does.

Regardless, the only apps that actually work with these things are 
adobe acrobat apps- plain and simple.  I've had PDF's that came to me 
which I opened with Preview.app on my mac, (where pdf is built into the 
core display engines), only to find that Preview wasn't displaying 
filled-in form text.  Had to open with Acrobat Reader, really annoying.

So in the end, we have 3 real choices:

1) Give in and run Adobe apps somewhere/somehow
2) Be hardcore about what formats people send you stuff (.txt !)
3) Write something or get involved with an open project that addresses 
your needs, (none of which seem very comprehensive or solid at the time 
of this writing)

That stated, my solution in the office is to just stay away from all of 
it- I've become somewhat of a pain with file formats (No word files, 
RTF only- or Plain Text), usually annoying to some HR depts and biz. 
folks, but it's just how I roll.  Usually the work we're doing is more 
important than mucking about with documents, and in the end, even if 
they complain, folks *can* read .txt files everywhere.

Another solution I've been slowly moving towards, is more web use- 
areas for my clients to upload files, and for me to post contracts, 
etc... in HTML.  Since I build things like intranets all the time, I've 
been noodling my own intranet type app for a long time- but never 
really finished off the job cleanly, (though it's amazing how far a web 
app with decent access control can go...)

On Feb 23, 2005, at 11:51 AM, George Georgalis wrote:

> Actually in the spirit of paperless office, I refuse fax 
> communications,
> "I don't have a fax machine" because, anyway you slice it, it is
> everything we don't like about paper, only low-res.
> // George

I kindof agree with GG here- I try to minimize faxing alltogether, 
using the local kinkos or copy shop for the 1 or 2 times annually that 
I need to send/recieve faxes.  As another sidenote, I've done the efax 
things, years ago, and well, I personally found it really quite 
annoying in the end- none of the software/services/etc are ever very 
complete- after all these years.  Usually I find I need to fax signed 
docs, which in most contexts I want to fedex anyhow...

OK, a bit more than .02?, but whatever...  Hope DC's treating you well 
and your office at least has a good view of the Potomac or some 
monument or somesuch.


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