PDF Activity useless?

edited November 2014 in General Discussion
The Andromo PDF Activity works well as far as looking great and preserving all text (but not media) operations. Nonetheless, the Adobe PDF Reader defeats the use of an Andromo PDF. Why? Because the Adobe Reader automatically saves a copy (a second file) of the PDF being read when the user exits the program in any way (it gives the user no choice). 

The second file is named "filename" with a "-1" added (i.e., "filename-1.pdf"). If the user has made any changes (e.g., highlighting), the changes are preserved in the "-1" file.

The next time the user opens the PDF, he get the original PDF, not the "-1" version. As far as he knows, all his changes (highlights) are lost. In addition, every time he closes the PDF, the Adobe Reader adds another new copy of the original PDF file (i.e., "-2", "-3", "-4", etc) whether he has made any changes or not.

We can't expect users to understand this problem or even understand the file system or how to access it. A user who makes changes (e.g., highlighting) is frustrated. A user who doesn't make any changes unknowingly adds a PDF copy file every time he closes the PDF file thereby clogging a file folder with dozens of PDF copies taking up memory.

Is there any workarounds for this? I would like to hear some ideas.

One workaround would be to instruct users to use another PDF reader instead of the Adobe Reader. It seems a little farfetched to expect that much of users. In addition, other PDF readers that do not automatically save a copy PDF file also do not allow changes (e.g., highlighting). This is a shortcoming that will frustrate a certain percentage of users. 

There don't seem to be any PDF readers that offer the features of the Adobe PDF reader (e.g. highlighting) and enable users to exit while saving the original PDF file (thus avoiding the problem).

I have therefore concluded that the PDF Activity of Andromo is essentially useless due to this dilemma. The last thing we want to do is frustrate users.

Does anyone have a contrary view? Please give details.



  • Editing PDFs is not the goal of the PDF activity. The goal of the PDF activity is to allow a PDF file to be viewed, using whatever PDF viewer the user has installed. (Adobe Reader is only suggested as a free option if they don't have anything installed yet.)

    Obviously we don't have any control over how an external PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader is implemented.

  • My comments have nothing to do with editing PDFs. They have to do with viewing Andromo PDFs. I understand that Andromo has no control over how PDF viewers (readers) are implemented.

    The fact remains that Adobe may have implemented its Reader in such a way that it is not friendly to users reading a PDF via an Andromo app. Other viewers are implemented in a way that doesn't require the PDF file to be saved but also doesn't enable highlighting and other features.

    The question is whether there is some work around to resolve the problem. If not, using the PDF Activity is not usable without causing many users a great annoyance. The annoyance comes from PDF viewers that do not enable highlighing and other features or from the fact that the Adobe Reader (very popular) is not user friendly in the ways I've pointed out.

    Moreover, when I start the same PDF outside of the Andromo app in the Adobe Reader, the Reader acts as it is supposed to act. That is, it saves the original file with the highlights and does not save multiple files even when no highlights are made.

    My conclusion is that there may be something in the implementation of the Andromo app that is causing the Adobe Reader to act different. There may be something in the implementation of the Adobe Reader that is causing this problem. And there may be some workaround to resolve it. But until it's resolved the Andromo PDF Activity is just going to annoy users.

    Consequently, it might behove Andromo to investigate the problem rather than just write it off as an Adobe implementation problem.

  • That behavior was investigated when it was initially implemented and it was determined that there was nothing that could be done to prevent it. That's the way Adobe Reader's app behaves when a document is passed to it via an intent. So as Lorne mentioned, it's handling is really out of our control.
  • @sinc: to clarify my response, highlighting a PDF edits (modifies) the file.
  • That's too bad. PDFs make great text apps via Andromo. I don't have the technical expertise to invent a workaround But ot would be nice if someone did invent a workaround.
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