Ben Langhinrichs

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Perils of PDF 1: Attachments

Wed 4 Sep 2019, 09:18 AM



by Ben Langhinrichs
Recently, there has been an increased interest in exporting to PDF, a feature that is promised natively for Notes Version 11. There are also migration "solutions" that include this feature. At Genii Software, we have considered adding this as a feature, but while it is not technically difficult, we are all too aware of the traps that PDF archives face. 
 
The PDF format itself is great for certain use cases. It also has certain limitations by its very nature. It is page based, reflecting its origin back when its primary use was presenting page based content either from scanned pages or word processors that were also page based. But neither Notes or the web are inherently page based, so PDF's have to "break things where they oughtn't be broke". In addition, a PDF is largely, though not exactly, a snapshot or image of the contents. But just as an image of your dinner posted on Instagram is little help when you are hungry, an image of your Notes document is fairly limited compared to the active Notes document itself.
 
We have identified eight primary issues to be aware of when exporting/migrating to PDF, though there may be more. For the purposes of this blog series, I'll compare PDFs to how we export/migrate to HTML or MIME. The first four are issues with any rich text exported to PDF (in case you simply export the rich text field), while the second group of four are with documents rendered with their form exported to PDF, usually the case. Depending on what vendor or driver you use, a few of these may have at least a partial solution, but they are good items to check when validating your approach.
 
 
1) Attachments not launchable, may or may not even be saved, and are difficult to associate by name alone
 
Original Notes rich text field. The second attachment was clicked, opening this familiar dialog box..
 
Inline JPEG image
 
 
PDF rendering. Looks nice. Attachments not launchable. Even if attachments saved separately, what names are used since they can't all be Sales.xls?
 
Inline JPEG image
 
 
Rendered by the Midas LSX to HTML. Also looks nice. The second attachment was clicked, opening this matching dialog box.
 
Inline JPEG image
 
 
Table of Contents (will be updated as the blog series continues)
Perils of PDF 1: Attachments
Perils of PDF 2: Doclinks
Perils of PDF 3: Wide Tables and data loss
Perils of PDF 4: Missing and obscured data
Perils of PDF 5: Data Confusion
 
Want to try out our Midas LSX export for yourself? Simply fill out the online evaluation request, and we'll get you started. There's no cost to seeing it for yourself.
 

Copyright 2019 Genii Software Ltd.

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