This evening, I found myself in the unique position of needing to display a list of PDF files at the bottom of a WordPress page. At first, I attempted to simply upload all of the PDF files using the WordPress image uploader, and then inserting a “gallery” at the foot of my post.
Unfortunately, I soon figured out that the “gallery” only displays images. In my case, that meant a blank space where I wanted the list of PDF files to appear (since, obviously, none of them are images).
Anyone who’s spent time looking for solutions to allow their Web site visitors to convert pages to PDF has most likely discovered that the majority of the tools available for doing so are lacking in one way or another. Trying to build one in PHP from scratch is an extremely daunting and unsatisfying task. Using a pre-built library in PHP always seems to carry with it some disappointment (most of the time related to either the CSS implementation or the usage of images on your pages) and using a hosted solution usually means long processing and waiting times or does not allow for any decent customization.
However, a new hosted resource has come onto the scene that seems to do an extremely effective job, allows for a great deal of customization and is fast and efficient. A team known as OpenTracker has put together a resource called PDFmyURL. On the surface, PDFmyURL looks like just another site that allows visitors to enter a URL and get a PDF of that page in return. Even in that task, PDFmyURL does a much better job than most of its competitors (there are a few other sites that claim to allow users to do that, but many of them require you to save the page in Microsoft’s packaged HTML format before you can convert the page). However, by clicking a small link on the PDFmyURL home page, you can expand a list of advanced options that show you some code you can place on your own Web site to seamlessly allow your visitors to convert your pages to PDF.
In 2001, Jeffrey Zeldman wrote a book called Taking Your Talent to the Web. The book apparently offered some great advice on making the transition from designing for pring publication to Web design. The book is now available for free as a PDF from Zeldman’s Web site.
there was ONE book that ultimately served to jump start my career in web design. I carried that book in my big red car for an entire semester, highlighting and sticky-noting and referencing it like a sacred text.
Check it out, and let us know what you think of the book.
A few weeks ago, I came across an interesting post about Google and PDF files. It seems that Google has very tight rules about how it indexes PDF documents, and you have to be careful about how you prepare your PDFs if you want them added to your site index.
Please share your experiences and expertise regarding PDF documents and how Google indexes them.