How to make it mobile?
April 13, 2006 4:15 AM   Subscribe

PDFfilter: How easiest to format/generate the same information to be sent to mobile phones and PDA's.

Every day a document is generated using InDesign and Adobe Acrobat 6, (Windows XP), and emailed to many people.

The next natural step to open this up to more users is to port the same information to their mobile devices. Chinese characters involved.
posted by geekyguy to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Is it the text that you want to get to them or does it have to be the actual design and layout of the PDF?

When you say "generated," what do you mean exactly? Doesn't the content (the text, for example) come from somewhere before it goes into InDesign?
posted by winston at 4:23 AM on April 13, 2006

It truly is just the content and if it needs to be repackaged for mobile use than so be it. The design isn't the most important aspect.

Currently we are entering text directly into InDesign but, I agree, it could easily be done from Word as the starting point. Thanks.
posted by geekyguy at 6:28 AM on April 13, 2006

PDFs are doable but awkward on the PDAs I've seen. Palms, in particular, have pretty crummy PDF support from Adobe. With the requirement for expanded character sets, would the simplest answer be to generate the document as an image? That gives you the most control over the PDA display too. Most PDAs can view GIFs natively, I think.
posted by bonehead at 6:35 AM on April 13, 2006

Wouldn't this be an excellent application of XML technologies? Generate an XML document instead of an InDesign one, since the design doesn't seem to matter.

From that XML document you can repurpose for Mobile XML, output a PDF for your current application, and probably maintain much of your current design through XHTML, CSS, and SVG. The Chinese characters are handled through native Unicode support.

Seems like a winning combination, but might take convincing in an organization using InDesign for publishing to mobile devices. Sounds more graphics oriented than programming, not that there is anything wrong with that. ;-)
posted by mshellenberger at 6:57 AM on April 13, 2006

I was thinking that XML might be the best path for this project to change but what easy to use tool can I suggest they implement to ease this transition? With support for Chinese language fonts?
posted by geekyguy at 4:22 PM on April 13, 2006

Why are you not just using plain-Jane HTML? Why in the world would you zip over to PDF first? You already told us the design doesn’t matter much.

Tick the “Use eBook tags” box in InDesign’s PDF export so your PDFs will be tagged. This increases the chances of correct document reflow, but probably not by much.
posted by joeclark at 8:00 AM on April 14, 2006

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you...I'm new to using AskMeFi.

I use the oXygen XML editor. It is the most standards compliant editor I have found that also doesn't cost tons of $$. Here's a page from their user guide on Unicode support.

I don't do any work in Asian languages so I can't tell you how functional this is, but I doubt that the oXygen team would skimp on such a significant part of any XML tool.

Good luck.
posted by mshellenberger at 1:27 PM on April 20, 2006

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