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Re: [NH] Open a Folder of PDF files

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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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