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  1. #1
    SitePoint Member 1timothy412's Avatar
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    PDF for mobile devices

    I am working on my first mobile website and am running into a problem with embedding PDFs. The document flows outside of the design layout when viewed on a mobile device. So my question is this: is it possible to make a responsive (and embeddable) PDF? If so, can someone give me directions on how to do this, or does anyone know of any converters or WP plugins to do this?

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    How are you doing the embedding? I'm used to a link to a PDF, which the device opens in a new window and normally fits to the window.

    There are some nice tools out there like http://issuu.com/ that allow you to embed texts like PDFs in your pages.

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    Except you need to be aware that if you are using tools like Issuu, your site is likely to either simply fail or at least cause processor overload meltdown for a lot of people, especially those on mobile devices. just let people open the PDF in their native PDF reader, or code it as proper HTML. Trying to fuse the two is a recipe for disaster.

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    SitePoint Member 1timothy412's Avatar
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    Thank you both for your replies... so it sounds like the best way to go is to just provide a download link. Too bad there wasn't a PDF to responsive converter out there. It sure would be nice to just be able to imbed a PDF that resizes with the browser width.

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    The whole point about PDF is that it gives you a fixed design, suitable for printing. There's perfectly good technology to support responsive designs that adapt to the viewport, they are called HTML and CSS...

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1timothy412 View Post
    Too bad there wasn't a PDF to responsive converter out there. It sure would be nice to just be able to imbed a PDF that resizes with the browser width.
    When creating the PDF, you can set the text to reflow, but I don't think it works too well with a complex layout. I also don't know that it would reflow within the browser, though it would be interesting to experiment with that.

    As Stevie says, though, it sounds like it would be better to do this in HTML anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D
    The whole point about PDF is that it gives you a fixed design, suitable for printing. There's perfectly good technology to support responsive designs that adapt to the viewport, they are called HTML and CSS...
    Note a viable option when the end goal is allow none technical users to upload documents such as PDFs. Every time they want to upload a PDF are we suppose to tell them to learn CSS and HTML or pay to have it done. That doesn't seem like very economic nor user friendly solution to me.
    The only code I hate more than my own is everyone else's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oddz View Post
    Note a viable option when the end goal is allow none technical users to upload documents such as PDFs. Every time they want to upload a PDF are we suppose to tell them to learn CSS and HTML or pay to have it done. That doesn't seem like very economic nor user friendly solution to me.
    That's a pretty narrow use case though, and as far as I can see, the OP has given no indication that that was what he had in mind. If you have that a lot, and you want responsive pages suitable for mobile use, you could set up a CMS so all they need to do is paste their document from Word/whatever into the template and it creates the HTML and CSS for them – not difficult. If you've got non-technical users uploading pages that are too complicated for a CMS and you need them to be responsive then you've got a pretty tight set of restrictions there, and you're either going to have to pay for professional services or compromise on some aspect of the process and output. You can't expect software whose whole purpose is to provide identical facsimile rendering on any platform including print media to introduce responsive layouts for screen media for that kind of marginal situation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D
    That's a pretty narrow use case though, and as far as I can see
    I can't remember the last time I worked on a web app that didn't require this type of flexibility.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D
    If you have that a lot, and you want responsive pages suitable for mobile use, you could set up a CMS so all they need to do is paste their document from Word/whatever into the template and it creates the HTML and CSS for them – not difficult.
    That there is an exercise in futility.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D
    If you've got non-technical users uploading pages that are too complicated for a CMS and you need them to be responsive then you've got a pretty tight set of restrictions there, and you're either going to have to pay for professional services or compromise on some aspect of the process and output. You can't expect software whose whole purpose is to provide identical facsimile rendering on any platform including print media to introduce responsive layouts for screen media for that kind of marginal situation.
    Precisely.
    The only code I hate more than my own is everyone else's.


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