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Open a Folder of PDF files

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  • Ray Shapp
    To All, I edit a club s monthly newsletter which is posted online as a single PDF file. I m considering for the future, posting the dozen or so articles and
    Message 1 of 13 , May 25 6:06 PM
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      To All,

      I edit a club's monthly newsletter which is posted online as a single PDF
      file. I'm considering for the future, posting the dozen or so articles and
      "departments" as separate PDF files in a single folder each month. One of the
      PDF files would contain just the standard masthead and a table of contents
      with links to each of the other files in that folder.

      Besides hyperlinks (with or without images), what other HTML elements should I
      consider?

      Since this will be an entirely new format for our members, I would appreciate
      hearing your opinions and suggestions for implementing this "thing". I'm not
      sure it should be called a newsletter any more because it will not have
      consecutively numbered pages from one to the final page. It will not be
      downloadable with a single click. Some of the articles could contain as many
      as ten pages, and others would be a short blurb that would not fill a single
      page if printed. The design, therefore, needs to incorporate an unambiguous
      way to cite particular passages in a lengthy article. I'm not sure how to do
      that other than by citing the name of the article and the date associated with
      the folder.

      I currently provide a TXT file with text only (no graphics or formatting) for
      our members who don't have broadband internet. My plan is to collect the text
      from all the separate PDF files and post that as a single TXT file each month.

      Have you implemented any kind of periodical like this? Can you cite any
      examples?

      Thank you for your help.

      Ray Shapp
    • Ray Shapp
      To All, I didn t receive any response to my question of May 25th. Here s an alternate way of asking the same question: How can I use HTML (with or without CSS)
      Message 2 of 13 , Jun 1, 2009
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        To All,

        I didn't receive any response to my question of May 25th. Here's an alternate
        way of asking the same question: How can I use HTML (with or without CSS) to
        allow a user the option to open or download all twelve PDF files with a single
        click or allow a user to open or download only a few selected PDF files with a
        series of clicks without the need for my storing all the documents both as
        stand-alone PDF files and again with all twelve documents combined into a
        single PDF file?

        Ray Shapp


        ***originally sent 5/25/2009***

        To All,

        I edit a club's monthly newsletter which is posted online as a single PDF
        file. I'm considering for the future, posting the dozen or so articles and
        "departments" as separate PDF files in a single folder each month. One of the
        PDF files would contain just the standard masthead and a table of contents
        with links to each of the other files in that folder.

        Besides hyperlinks (with or without images), what other HTML elements should I
        consider?

        Since this will be an entirely new format for our members, I would appreciate
        hearing your opinions and suggestions for implementing this "thing". I'm not
        sure it should be called a newsletter any more because it will not have
        consecutively numbered pages from one to the final page. It will not be
        downloadable with a single click. Some of the articles could contain as many
        as ten pages, and others would be a short blurb that would not fill a single
        page if printed. The design, therefore, needs to incorporate an unambiguous
        way to cite particular passages in a lengthy article. I'm not sure how to do
        that other than by citing the name of the article and the date associated with
        the folder.

        I currently provide a TXT file with text only (no graphics or formatting) for
        our members who don't have broadband internet. My plan is to collect the text
        from all the separate PDF files and post that as a single TXT file each month.

        Have you implemented any kind of periodical like this? Can you cite any
        examples?

        Thank you for your help.

        Ray Shapp
      • MotoMania
        ... Ray, AFAIK, the only way to allow the ability to download select PDF files is to have the individual PDF files there to download. I know of no way that you
        Message 3 of 13 , Jun 1, 2009
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          Ray Shapp wrote:
          > To All,
          >
          > I didn't receive any response to my question of May 25th. Here's an
          > alternate
          > way of asking the same question: How can I use HTML (with or without
          > CSS) to
          > allow a user the option to open or download all twelve PDF files with a
          > single
          > click or allow a user to open or download only a few selected PDF files
          > with a
          > series of clicks without the need for my storing all the documents both as
          > stand-alone PDF files and again with all twelve documents combined into a
          > single PDF file?
          >
          > Ray Shapp

          Ray,

          AFAIK, the only way to allow the ability to download select PDF files is
          to have the individual PDF files there to download. I know of no way
          that you can extract individual pages from a parent PDF file for download.

          Mick
        • Marcelo Bastos
          ... In plain HTML, I don t see a way. In HTML, one click will (open|download) one file. Now, it s probably possible to write some Javascript that will take
          Message 4 of 13 , Jun 1, 2009
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            Interviewed by CNN on 1/6/2009 21:02, Ray Shapp told the world:
            > To All,
            >
            > I didn't receive any response to my question of May 25th. Here's an alternate
            > way of asking the same question: How can I use HTML (with or without CSS) to
            > allow a user the option to open or download all twelve PDF files with a single
            > click or allow a user to open or download only a few selected PDF files with a
            > series of clicks without the need for my storing all the documents both as
            > stand-alone PDF files and again with all twelve documents combined into a
            > single PDF file?
            >
            >
            In plain HTML, I don't see a way. In HTML, one click will
            (open|download) one file. Now, it's probably possible to write some
            Javascript that will take that single click and spawn a dozen downloads
            from it. Of course, that means your page won't work as planned if the
            visitor has Javascript turned off.

            Personally, I don't see the point of doing the online version in PDF --
            I would prefer doing an online version in HTML and, from that, generate
            a downloadable full version in PDF. Online PDF is... well, dreadful.

            Marcelo

            -=-=-
            Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros.
            * TagZilla 0.066 on Seamonkey 1.1.16
          • Alec Burgess
            Ray - sorry, I saw your original post but as I m inexpert in HTML/CSS/Javascript (is that a word?) did not reply. I assume that SOME JavaScript could be used
            Message 5 of 13 , Jun 1, 2009
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              Ray - sorry, I saw your original post but as I'm inexpert in
              HTML/CSS/Javascript (is that a word?) did not reply. I assume that SOME
              JavaScript could be used to provide this to all readers no matter which
              browser they use (presumably IE-6-7-or-8 or Firefox.

              Their is (IMO) a perfect solution for those who use (or can be persuaded
              to use) Firefox. Addon: DownThemAll has an option that allows you to
              select any block of an HTML page and then use a toolbutton or r-click
              context menu which will show all links within the selection and allow
              selection by file type, filename contents etc. You can use a file-name
              mask (default *name*.*ext*) or for example change it to "RaysJulyPDFs -
              *name*.*ext*" and download them all to a designated folder.

              From what you've written in the past this method might be too
              "technical" for some of your readers?

              Ray Shapp wrote:
              > To All,
              >
              > I didn't receive any response to my question of May 25th. Here's an alternate
              > way of asking the same question: How can I use HTML (with or without CSS) to
              > allow a user the option to open or download all twelve PDF files with a single
              > click or allow a user to open or download only a few selected PDF files with a
              > series of clicks without the need for my storing all the documents both as
              > stand-alone PDF files and again with all twelve documents combined into a
              > single PDF file?
              >
              > Ray Shapp
              >
              >
              > ***originally sent 5/25/2009***
              >
              > To All,
              >
              > I edit a club's monthly newsletter which is posted online as a single PDF
              > file. I'm considering for the future, posting the dozen or so articles and
              > "departments" as separate PDF files in a single folder each month. One of the
              > PDF files would contain just the standard masthead and a table of contents
              > with links to each of the other files in that folder.
              >
              > Besides hyperlinks (with or without images), what other HTML elements should I
              > consider?
              >
              > Since this will be an entirely new format for our members, I would appreciate
              > hearing your opinions and suggestions for implementing this "thing". I'm not
              > sure it should be called a newsletter any more because it will not have
              > consecutively numbered pages from one to the final page. It will not be
              > downloadable with a single click. Some of the articles could contain as many
              > as ten pages, and others would be a short blurb that would not fill a single
              > page if printed. The design, therefore, needs to incorporate an unambiguous
              > way to cite particular passages in a lengthy article. I'm not sure how to do
              > that other than by citing the name of the article and the date associated with
              > the folder.
              >
              > I currently provide a TXT file with text only (no graphics or formatting) for
              > our members who don't have broadband internet. My plan is to collect the text
              > from all the separate PDF files and post that as a single TXT file each month.
              >
              > Have you implemented any kind of periodical like this? Can you cite any
              > examples?
              >
              > Thank you for your help.
              >
              > Ray Shapp
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >

              --
              Regards ... Alec (buralex@gmail & WinLiveMess - alec.m.burgess@skype)
            • Michael Rawley
              Hi Ray, To download a folder of PDF files have you tried making the folder a zip file and downloading that. Michael Rawley, www.normist.co.uk
              Message 6 of 13 , Jun 2, 2009
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                Hi Ray,

                To download a folder of PDF files have you tried making the folder a zip
                file and downloading that.

                Michael Rawley,
                www.normist.co.uk
              • Axel Berger
                ... That was my first thought too, but it is not so. You could make a purely HTML form, tick all those PDFs you want and submit that. BUT you will need a
                Message 7 of 13 , Jun 2, 2009
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                  Alec Burgess wrote:
                  > I assume that SOME JavaScript could be used to provide
                  > this to all readers no matter which browser they use

                  That was my first thought too, but it is not so. You could make a
                  purely HTML form, tick all those PDFs you want and submit that. BUT
                  you will need a program, possibly PHP, running on the server side to
                  evaluate that form.

                  How big are your PDFs? Is it really worth the effort sending some of
                  them or won't it suffice to offer a choice between them individually
                  and all of them at once?

                  Axel
                • Axel Berger
                  ... You ve got twelve files already, what is so bad in making one more file, a ZIP combining them? Looks like the least possible effort all round to me. Axel
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jun 2, 2009
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                    Axel Berger wrote:
                    > or won't it suffice

                    I just saw you've thought of that already:
                    > without the need for my storing all the documents both as
                    > stand-alone PDF files and again with all twelve documents
                    > combined into a single PDF file?

                    You've got twelve files already, what is so bad in making one more
                    file, a ZIP combining them? Looks like the least possible effort all
                    round to me.

                    Axel
                  • Ray Shapp
                    I need to get to sleep soon, but I want to make a quick reply to all who answered my question. Mick said, I know of no way that you can extract individual
                    Message 9 of 13 , Jun 2, 2009
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                      I need to get to sleep soon, but I want to make a quick reply to all who
                      answered my question.

                      Mick said, "I know of no way that you can extract individual pages from a
                      parent PDF file for download" I was looking at it the other way around. IOW
                      one HTML or other type of file which would allow the reader to check off some
                      or all the articles of interest which would then result in a single entity
                      he/she could read without making further selections.



                      Marcelo said, "it's probably possible to write some Javascript that will take
                      that single click and spawn a dozen downloads from it. Of course, that means
                      your page won't work as planned if the visitor has Javascript turned off." We
                      have about 200 people in the club, and a good many of them are real computer
                      novices. My guess is that half of them would be intimidated by the simple
                      question, "Is Java enabled?". I'm sure many members do not have Java enabled.
                      They and others would resist making any changes.


                      Marcelo also said, "I would prefer doing an online version in HTML and, from
                      that, generate a downloadable full version in PDF. Online PDF is... well,
                      dreadful." I don't understand how one would generate a PDF file from an HTML
                      document. I currently compose the newsletter in MS Word and "print" it to PDF.
                      I also don't know why you say online PDF is dreadful. The versions of the
                      Adobe Reader from number 7 onward have much improved text and graphics copying
                      capability and they also run faster than the older versions. After I spend
                      hours precisely formatting tables and mathematical equations, I appreciate the
                      fact that the reader can't destroy my work.


                      Alec said, "Their is (IMO) a perfect solution for those who use (or can be
                      persuaded to use) Firefox. Addon: DownThemAll has an option that allows you to
                      select any block of an HTML page...". I use DownThemAll, but I doubt more than
                      a dozen or so of my readers could be persuaded to follow your suggestion.
                      Also, asking people to change their browser is almost like asking them to
                      change their religion.


                      Michael Rawley said, "To download a folder of PDF files have you tried making
                      the folder a zip file and downloading that." Even if I make the zip file a
                      self-extracting archive, every user would need to download the entire month's
                      content. I want to accommodate the members who want to read maybe the lead
                      article plus one or two other items. Think of the way you read the daily
                      newspaper if you are rushed. You might scan the headlines on the first page
                      then flip to the business section or the sports pages or the comics.


                      Axel said, "You could make a purely HTML form, tick all those PDFs you want
                      and submit that. BUT you will need a program, possibly PHP, running on the
                      server side to evaluate that form." That's an interesting idea. I have written
                      a browse/search form processor using Perl script to serve as an online catalog
                      for our library. Maybe I can develop something similar in this instance. That
                      would take a LOT of work because I haven't touched Perl for over five years.


                      Axel also said, "How big are your PDFs? Is it really worth the effort ...".
                      Most articles are only 2 or 3 pages with graphics, however, some go to ten
                      pages. Some of our "departments" are a single page. The typical issue
                      generally contains no more than about 20 pages total. This whole question
                      arose because of the effort involved now in formatting all the contributed
                      articles into a single integrated document that emulates the paper version of
                      a newsletter. IOW, it has consecutively numbered pages, and all major articles
                      begin at the top of a page, and every page is "full" -- i. e., no page has
                      any big blank white space. I have been urged to merely pump out all the parts
                      that are now integrated as a group of stand-alone files. I am resisting that
                      because a significant number of our readers do want to read every word
                      starting on page one and continuing without interruption to the final page.
                      Some of these readers will open the single PDF I am now producing and merely
                      send it to their computer's printer. They can then carry the paper version
                      away from the PC. If I adopt the "stand-alone" procedure without an easy way
                      to download all or selective parts, the extra interaction at the keyboard will
                      interfere with the page turner and with the print-grab-and-go guy.


                      Now 8:15am EDT, and I haven't been to sleep yet. I'll see you all later.

                      Many thanks for your suggestions.

                      Ray Shapp
                    • Marcelo Bastos
                      ... Javascript, not Java. Javascript is a built-in feature of the browser, while Java is (in most cases) an external plugin. They have little in common besides
                      Message 10 of 13 , Jun 2, 2009
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                        Interviewed by CNN on 2/6/2009 09:25, Ray Shapp told the world:
                        > Marcelo said, "it's probably possible to write some Javascript that will take
                        > that single click and spawn a dozen downloads from it. Of course, that means
                        > your page won't work as planned if the visitor has Javascript turned off." We
                        > have about 200 people in the club, and a good many of them are real computer
                        > novices. My guess is that half of them would be intimidated by the simple
                        > question, "Is Java enabled?". I'm sure many members do not have Java enabled.
                        > They and others would resist making any changes.
                        >
                        >
                        Javascript, not Java. Javascript is a built-in feature of the browser,
                        while Java is (in most cases) an external plugin. They have little in
                        common besides the name.

                        The default state is for Javascript to be enabled. However, many people
                        disable it to avoid annoying ads, or because of security concerns. Some
                        will use some sort of tool to enable/disable it in a site-by-site basis.
                        Those are not your problem, though; they usually can figure it by
                        themselves, with a bit of warning from you (in the form of warnings,
                        particularly using the <noscript> element).
                        No, the REAL problem is that newbie who disabled Javascript because his
                        almost-as-newbie second cousin told him it was "a bad thing." They won't
                        be able to download the things, and will blame you. Best thing in this
                        case would be figure out some sort of alternate download page that will
                        be shown if people have Javascript disabled.
                        > Marcelo also said, "I would prefer doing an online version in HTML and, from
                        > that, generate a downloadable full version in PDF. Online PDF is... well,
                        > dreadful." I don't understand how one would generate a PDF file from an HTML
                        > document. I currently compose the newsletter in MS Word and "print" it to PDF.
                        > I also don't know why you say online PDF is dreadful. The versions of the
                        > Adobe Reader from number 7 onward have much improved text and graphics copying
                        > capability and they also run faster than the older versions. After I spend
                        > hours precisely formatting tables and mathematical equations, I appreciate the
                        > fact that the reader can't destroy my work.
                        >
                        >
                        Well, you could just as well open the HTML in your browser and "print"
                        it to PDF, the same way you do with Word. It would take some
                        experimenting, sure, but it can be done.
                        When I call online PDF "dreadful", I refer not to the presentation, but
                        to the experience: pages take a long time to load, they don't behave
                        like other web pages, don't adjust to the size of the browser window,
                        are generally slow...
                        But in fact you apparently have one good reason to stay with PDF: math
                        equations. These are hard to do well in HTML -- there is a standard for
                        it (MathML) but it's poorly supported, so not a solution for you. No, to
                        bring your equations to HTML you would have to first convert them to
                        images, which is an extra step. So, I think in your particular case, you
                        are better off with PDF, despite its shortcomings.


                        Marcelo
                        -=-=-
                        When you learn to distinguish between the container and the contents,
                        you will have attained wisdom. - Idries Shah
                        * TagZilla 0.066 on Seamonkey 1.1.16
                      • Ray Shapp
                        Hi Marcelo, Yes, that was a slip of the (figurative) tongue.
                        Message 11 of 13 , Jun 2, 2009
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                          Hi Marcelo,

                          <<Javascript, not Java.>>

                          Yes, that was a slip of the (figurative) tongue.


                          <<When I call online PDF "dreadful", I refer not to the presentation, but to
                          the experience:>>

                          Valid points.

                          Thanks for the replies.

                          Ray Shapp
                        • Axel Berger
                          ... May I offer the following rule of thumb: If the document is meant to be loaded down, archived and read at another time at the reader s discretion, go for
                          Message 12 of 13 , Jun 2, 2009
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                            Marcelo Bastos wrote:
                            > When I call online PDF "dreadful", I refer not to the
                            > presentation, but to the experience:

                            May I offer the following rule of thumb:
                            If the document is meant to be loaded down, archived and read at
                            another time at the reader's discretion, go for PDF.
                            If you expect the reader to just read it online, scan it (in the
                            human, not the technical sense), and continue browsing, probably
                            along links provided in the text, then go for HTML every time.
                            For that reason I offer lists of literature used and cited in both
                            formats, which is easy as both are generated automatically out of a
                            database application.

                            Axel
                          • Ray Shapp
                            Hi Axel, Thanks for your valuable rule of thumb. You make a good point about the disparate ways in which my users interact with the newsletter. If I can t find
                            Message 13 of 13 , Jun 3, 2009
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                              Hi Axel,

                              Thanks for your valuable rule of thumb.

                              You make a good point about the disparate ways in which my users interact with
                              the newsletter. If I can't find a way to store only one copy of the content
                              each month and if I can't find a less labor-intensive way of editing the
                              product, I will probably drop this question and continue with the methods with
                              which I am familiar and with which my readers are comfortable.

                              Also, I may need to stick with the current method because I don't see any
                              solution to the problems with citations if the articles are not presented in a
                              traditional newsletter format. Currently one can refer to a graph or a passage
                              or any other part of an article by citing only the issue date and page number.
                              If the articles are in separate files (of whatever format), they will not have
                              consecutive pagination from one article to the next. It will then be necessary
                              to cite title along with issue date plus the page number within that document.
                              The alternative would be to begin the pagination of each article after the
                              first one with a page number that is one greater than the final page number of
                              the preceding article.

                              This discussion is drifting off topic for an HTML group.

                              Ray Shapp


                              ----- Original Message -----
                              From: "Axel Berger" <Axel-Berger@...>
                              To: <ntb-html@yahoogroups.com>
                              Sent: Tuesday, June 02, 2009 1:20 PM
                              Subject: Re: [NH] Open a Folder of PDF files


                              > Marcelo Bastos wrote:
                              >> When I call online PDF "dreadful", I refer not to the
                              >> presentation, but to the experience:
                              >
                              > May I offer the following rule of thumb:
                              > If the document is meant to be loaded down, archived and read at
                              > another time at the reader's discretion, go for PDF.
                              > If you expect the reader to just read it online, scan it (in the
                              > human, not the technical sense), and continue browsing, probably
                              > along links provided in the text, then go for HTML every time.
                              > For that reason I offer lists of literature used and cited in both
                              > formats, which is easy as both are generated automatically out of a
                              > database application.
                              >
                              > Axel
                              >
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