PDF documentation

Peter Stuge peter at stuge.se
Tue Oct 16 10:05:55 EDT 2012

Constantine Shulyupin wrote:
> It is not so easy to manage a lot of PDF documents
> sometimes with strange code in file names.

I tend to rename them in some way that allows me to find them quickly
when I need them.

> It is not easy to store and share links to documentation.

Storing is easy, I just have a pdf folder. Sharing, well, they can be
committed to version control systems and they can be sent via email
or URLs can be shared when it is known that someone will in fact
receive the correct document version by using the URL. URLs are
temporal however, they frequently stop working as vendors re-organize
their web sites.

> Sometimes it is more easy just to copy paste and send by email part
> of documentation instead of using hyperlinks.

A group collaborating around a given hardware certainly needs a
common repository of documentation. A file server is often used
internally. I like to use wikis for public projects. They make it
easy to upload PDF files, references can be made to page

> I found, that it is more easy work (and work collaboratively) with
> documentation in HTML format. Sometimes it is possible just to
> convert PDF to HTML.

I strongly prefer working with PDF because it is the canonical
documentation made available by the manufacturer and because my
PDF readers are much much better than my HTML readers.

> - have same issues with PDF documentation and datasheets?

Personally no.

> - do you think documentation and datasheets in HTML format on a
>   site can be more useful than PDF?

Yes and no. I do like detailed information on a web site in the phase
of discovering a new product. Not many vendors provide detailed
technical information on web sites, because the web is so horribly
broken technology, and there are already well-established processes
for producing printed or PDF documentation. Those processes do not
translate 1:1 to web with useful results.

More useful for initial impression, yes, but under no circumstance do
I think HTML would be a good replacement for PDF. Already the fact
that PDF is self-contained but HTML is not should suggest that HTML
is a poor representation outside the web browser, for anything

> - what PDF documentation do you use? (You can just drop a link to PDF,
> for example http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/omap4430.pdf)

I don't understand what you want to know. I have thousands of data
sheets for parts that I have used, use, or plan to use.


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