Friday, November 07, 2008

Scribd iPaper: a Flash based alternative to PDF

Today Brad DeLong's web site included one of his lectures -- hosted using Scribd iPaper.

It's supposed to be an alternative to PDF; another way to make Microsoft Office documents accessible to a broad audience. Where as PDF is optimized for print, iPaper is optimized for web display.

There's some support for non-Office documents as well ...
Upload Your Documents | Scribd

.... Microsoft Word Files doc, docx Microsoft Powerpoint Files ppt, pptx, pps
Microsoft Excel Files xls, xlsx
PDF PDF pdf, ps
Open Office Open Office Documents odt, odp, sxw, sxi, etc.
Text Text Documents txt, rtf
There's only a few wee little catches.
  1. iPaper documents are pegging my browser (Camino on OS X at this time).
  2. iPaper is a descendant of Adobe's FlashPaper. It uses Flash for display. Yes, Flash, the buggiest, most insecure rendering platform known to the 21st century.
  3. iPaper appears to be a totally proprietary format, in fact it's not clear if one can download an iPaper file or if they have to be hosted at Scribd.
I prefer to avoid Flash whenever possible, so Scribd isn't a good answer for me.

1 comment:

Randy Orrison said...

Someone wanted an alternative to PDF, that was optimized for the web. Presumably the requirements were something like:
* Rich text formatting
* Images
* Works on all browsers
* Cross-platform

I guess they forgot
* No plugins required
* Indexable by search engines

What about... HTML?