PDF: The Good and the Ugly

Volume 6, Issue 56; 08 Jul 2003

More PDF. Less clever.

The Good

Simon Phipps asked me about PDF versions of new pages. He was interested in a single PDF file of all the articles in the RSS feed. I haven't done that, quite, but I have added PDF versions of threads.

Go ahead, check it out. Click on one of the little “ [T] ” icons above to go to a thread (this essay participates in two). The PDF link on the thread page points to a document that contains all of the essays in that thread.

The PDF stylesheet still needs a little work. URI footnotes should be absolute not relative, and I want to distinguish links between essays that appear in the same thread. But some days I reserve for more writing and less hacking.

The Ugly

Internet Explorer, Acrobat, the Microsoft Windows platform, or some combination of the three is broken. “Duh,” I hear you say. Yeah, well, I mean particularly in the area of content negotiation.

I had to pull PDF out of the content negotation mix. It's no longer possible to get the PDF version of this article by requesting the article URI using a header to limit the acceptable representations to application/pdf. You can still get it by using the representation specific URI.

I briefly considered refusing to change my configuration, asserting instead that it was someone else's bug. But, realistically, that doesn't help the readers any and chances are good that they can't fix the problem.