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Meet Firefox's Built-In PDF Reader

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the must-include-web-browser dept.

Firefox 257

An anonymous reader writes "Not long ago, Mozilla coders announced that they were starting to build PDF.js, a way to display Acrobat documents in the browser using pure web code. No longer will you have to fight with an external PDF plug-in in Firefox. Development on PDF.js has progressed to the point now where you can take an early peek at it. Huzzah!"

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Good (4, Insightful)

steevven1 (1045978) | more than 2 years ago | (#37874864)

I usually hate added features to my browser (I prefer a lightweight, fast browser), and Firefox especially has needed to go on a diet for the past year or two (and it has, successfully, since version 4), but I think that this is a pretty fundamental feature for a browser to have. After all, PDF's are everywhere on the 'net. Your browser should be able to show them to you. Gone are the days of saying "Oh, that link to an article I was barely interested in in the first place points to something in PDF format? Nevermind."

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37874888)

But every time a new Adobe Reader exploit comes out, everybody complains that a document reader shouldn't be interpreting Javascript.

Re:Good (5, Funny)

Shoe Puppet (1557239) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875036)

In Mozilla Firefox, Javascript interprets PDF!

Re:Good (2, Informative)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875712)

In Mozilla Firefox, Javascript interprets PDF!

Aww, come on mods! That's the first "In Soviet Russia" spin-off joke that was funny and insightful and informative... possibly ever!
and there it sits at 1...

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875252)

No no JS support on acrobat is an old thing, nowadays the exploits come from embeded flash videos INSIDE the pdf files, they are almost all SWF exploits...

Re:Good (4, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#37874926)

What's wrong with clicking the link and having the PDF launch in the viewer of your choice? This is significantly increasing browser footprint and attack surface for no appreciable benefit.

Re:Good (5, Interesting)

bazald (886779) | more than 2 years ago | (#37874952)

But it's not increasing the attack surface at all. If it's pure javascript, the interpreter is already there anyway. Any attack on PDF.js would exist in the interpreter independently of PDF.js. In fact, this reduces the attack surface by requiring one less program to accept arbitrary data from the network.

Re:Good (2)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875054)

Waiting for a PDF to load externally takes a while and messes up the whole browsing flow -- can't open links in a background tab if they're going to grab hold of your screen and pop up a PDF viewer in front. Chrome's in-browser PDF viewer works great, loads so much faster than an external viewer.

Re:Good (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875428)

Waiting for a PDF to load externally takes a while and messes up the whole browsing flow -- can't open links in a background tab if they're going to grab hold of your screen and pop up a PDF viewer in front.

If the PDF viewer raises and focuses itself when launched from your web browser, that's a window manager problem.

Re:Good (3, Insightful)

steevven1 (1045978) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875080)

I'll respond to this with a quote from someone else: "If you have a link to something.jpg, would you rather it open in an image viewer in another application window? The ubiquity of PDFs makes them worthy of the same treatment as images."

Re:Good (3, Insightful)

keytoe (91531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875570)

I'll respond to this with a quote from someone else: "If you have a link to something.jpg, would you rather it open in an image viewer in another application window? The ubiquity of PDFs makes them worthy of the same treatment as images."

Except that images are inline elements that fit within the document model of a web page and PDF documents are separate ... er ... documents. Images and PDFs are used in completely different ways.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875736)

But if I follow a link to http://example.com/something.jpg, should it just download the image and open an image viewer, or should it display the image in my browser? Images can be inline elements in an html document, or they can be linked to on their own.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875696)

If you have a link to debian-6.0.3-i386.iso, would you rather it open in an external emulator in another window?

Although PDF's are more ubiquitous than operating systems, They're completely different from HTML. They're a different, incompatible format, designed to be displayed in a different way, by a different program.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875204)

What's wrong with clicking the link and having the PDF launch in the viewer of your choice?

To take this even further, what's wrong with clicking the link and downloading the PDF for later launch in the viewer/processor of your choice? Usually I don't want my browsing session being interrupted by any PDF interpreter popping up (and possibly crashing my browser).

Although I must say that it is nice to have the possibility to decide to view a particular PDF on the fly (and in parallel to my browser).

Re:Good (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875674)

Saving it for reference later is always good. But very often there are links you get while browsing the web and you want to read them then and there, not save them first and wait for reader to load, etc.

The other problem is that too many "readers" have bloated features not needed. I don't care if a doc is signed, or the ability to add my own notes to it, or all those security holes that should not exist in a small simple read-only reader. PDF has gotten extremely complicated over the years and each new Adobe Acrobat Reader is getting uglier (and it's a pain to keep finding their hidden older versions that work better).

Re:Good (2)

epine (68316) | more than 2 years ago | (#37876004)

What's wrong with clicking the link and having the PDF launch in the viewer of your choice? This is significantly increasing browser footprint and attack surface for no appreciable benefit.

I've configured the majority of my web clients to use external PDF viewers in the past because there wasn't much benefit to running them inline as opaque applications in affordable housing. There's nothing wrong with being too old for school. However, if PDF behaved more like web content and integrated fully with Zotero, Session Saver, AdBlock, and NoSquint the benefits would be highly appreciable.

I've grown fond of having the ability to remove any image (or logo) from a document I'm reading in Firefox by whichever of my multitudinous plug-ins added "remove this object" to my popup context menu.

Neither am I particularly fond after a system restart of having to rearrange my PDF windows on their habitual desktops, after fighting round one with FF.

From How Netflix Lost 800,000 Members, and Good Will [nytimes.com]

Reed Hastings was soaking in a hot tub with a friend last month when he shared a secret [doomed plan]. "That is awful," the friend, who was also a Netflix subscriber, told him under a starry sky in the Bay Area, according to Mr. Hastings. "I don't want to deal with two accounts."

In fact, I've always hated that PDF was a cloistered universe. I'll be much happier when it's demoted to just another www markup language and treated as such.

But don't feel bad, Reed couldn't see it either.

There are real problems to solve first, Mozilla! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875058)

What Mozilla apparently doesn't realize is that there are serious problems with Firefox that should be fixed long, long before this sort of crap is added.

1) The poor performance and the extreme memory usage. Yes, this is still a problem. It's easily reproducible with fresh Firefox installations. No, it's not a problem extensions. No, it's not a problem with plugins. No, it's not a problem with my computer (Chrome, Opera and Safari run just fine). The problem is solely with Firefox.

2) Can the "UI designers". The Firefox UI has been completely trash since Firefox 4. It is much less usable than earlier releases. Bring back the status bar. Bring back the menu bar. Bring back the protocol in the URL bar. Don't make us install extensions or resort to other hacks just to bring back this basic and integral functionality!

3) Fix the fucking auto-update process and the releases so that extensions don't break near-constantly!

4) Stop trying to imitate Chrome. If we wanted to use a browser like Chrome, we'd fucking use Chrome! If we aren't using Chrome, it's probably because we want something different.

For crying out loud, Mozilla, fix these real issues that affect every user before adding useless crap like this PDF nonsense to Firefox.

Re:There are real problems to solve first, Mozilla (4, Informative)

Vaphell (1489021) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875170)

Memory:
noscript, adblock, flashblock to cut down unnecessary bullshit
http://kb.mozillazine.org/Browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers [mozillazine.org]

Bring back the protocol in the URL bar:
about:config -> browser.urlbar.trimURLs = false

Re:There are real problems to solve first, Mozilla (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875344)

Bring back the protocol in the URL bar:
about:config -> browser.urlbar.trimURLs = false

I didn't even notice it was gone, but I'm pleased to have it back. Thanks!

Re:There are real problems to solve first, Mozilla (1)

splorp! (527131) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875534)

THANK you! That's been pissing me off for a while.

Re:There are real problems to solve first, Mozilla (1)

rimugu (701444) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875446)

You have to be kidding.

Menu bar, Firefox Menu/Options/Menu bar
Status bar, Ctrl+/

You have already been answered about protocol, and I have not seen poor performance, memory usage could be better, but it is clear you are ignorant of Firefox and blowing it out of proportion.

Re:There are real problems to solve first, Mozilla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37876078)

That's still far more effort than should be necessary to make visible things that never should have been hidden in the first place.

The problem isn't even so much that they're gone, but rather that the Mozilla dev team was stupid enough to remove them in the first place.

Re:There are real problems to solve first, Mozilla (1)

reub2000 (705806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37876096)

4) Stop trying to imitate Chrome. If we wanted to use a browser like Chrome, we'd fucking use Chrome! If we aren't using Chrome, it's probably because we want something different.

Hey, Konqueror had integrated kpdf into the browser way before Chrome existed.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875816)

Gone are the days of saying "Oh, that link to an article I was barely interested in in the first place points to something in PDF format? Nevermind."

They are? Whenever I see a PDF link, I always skip over it. If it's important, it will be in standard HTML. PDF might be an "open" format now, but it wasn't always and was only made open because it would have already died off had Adobe not done so. No thanks, I'll take my truly open formats, not formats that were opened solely to keep Adobe in the business of selling Acrobat.

Please God no! (4, Insightful)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 2 years ago | (#37874880)

I don't want PDFs to open in the web browser. I want to open them in Acrobat in another window. Let the browser be a browser and Acrobat be Acrobat!

Re:Please God no! (-1, Troll)

jimpop (27817) | more than 2 years ago | (#37874894)

Nice try Adobe Salesperson.

Re:Please God no! (2)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 2 years ago | (#37874916)

If I was an Adobe person I'd want Acrobat to open in the browser window. No. No. No. A thousand times No. Get this crap out of my browser!

Re:Please God no! (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 2 years ago | (#37874950)

Acrobat sucks balls, but I have to agree, let the friggen web browser do what it does best, browse the web, what is so wrong with having your pdf reader of choice open seperately, more gunk in browsers is not what we need.

Re:Please God no! (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875272)

Who said the browser is only supposed to open HTML documents?

Re:Please God no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875560)

Nice try Adobe Salesperson.

Nah. Actually it's a Microsoft Salesperson. Don't you remember the $500M legal shellacking Microsoft took for embedding apps in IE?

Re:Please God no! (1)

BeardedChimp (1416531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37874984)

I don't want PDFs to open in the web browser. I want to open them in Acrobat in another window. Let the browser be a browser and Acrobat be Acrobat!

So you don't like googles feature of viewing pdfs in html? Personally I love not having to download the file and wait for the pdf viewer to instantiate itself. The main benefit being not having to worry about the latest pdf exploit ruining your day.

Re:Please God no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875134)

Nope. Having pdf in a separate window with *FULL MENU* support and much better printing is much better than the browser block off 25+% of the viewing area with minimal support and *sucky* printing.

Re:Please God no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875280)

Uh, you have to download the PDF in to view it in your browser too.

Viewing a partially downloaded PDF (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875454)

Uh, you have to download the PDF in to view it in your browser too.

Some PDF viewers can begin displaying the first page while the rest of the pages are still downloading.

Re:Please God no! (1)

Panoptes (1041206) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875884)

"instantiate"? This horrible word doesn't mean what the writer thinks it does: it means "represent as or by an instance" (OED).

Re:Please God no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875000)

There are addons for that... Some of them very popular.

Re:Please God no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875008)

If you have a link to something.jpg, would you rather it open in an image viewer in another application window? The ubiquity of PDFs makes them worthy of the same treatment as images.

Re:Please God no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875028)

Being able to read a PDF with a web browser using exactly the same (or enhanced) controls as the any HTML document sounds like a great idea to me. Writing a PDF parser in javascript sounds like a really stupid idea. Come to think of it, writing anything in javascript is a dumb idea.

Re:Please God no! (3, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875126)

You realize that Acrobat is the #2 attack vector for Windows machines, right? It's right between Java and Flash. Why would you voluntarily use it when there are several other PDF readers which don't even show up on the attack vector charts? I was in a meeting today at the Maricopa County Community Colleges District office and I was pleasantly surprised to see that Foxit reader opened up whenever someone clicked a link to a PDF in IE. They use IE and still have enough sense to get Java and Acrobat off their machines.

Re:Please God no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875162)

You realize that Acrobat is the #2 attack vector for Windows machines, right? It's right between Java and Flash.

Assuming what you say is true, wouldn't Acrobat be the #3 attack vector?

Re:Please God no! (1)

enrgeeman (867240) | more than 2 years ago | (#37876122)

No, because it's between java and flash, not behind them.

Re:Please God no! (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875218)

Then don't use it. Whew, problem solved.

(Valid) Criticism is useful. Personal preferences are irrelevant.

Re:Please God no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875388)

What a fucking assburger.

Re:Please God no! (2)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875302)

I can't be the only person who remembers when images on the web pages had to be viewed with a separate application.

Re:Please God no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875844)

Mosaic 1.0 could handle images.

Re:Please God no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37876048)

I remember Gopher.

Re:Please God no! (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875354)

I don't want PDFs to open in the web browser. I want to open them in Acrobat in another window. Let the browser be a browser and Acrobat be Acrobat!

That's fine, this is a Firefox addon: Just don't use it. Addons are optional.

Re:Please God no! (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875494)

I've got to agree, mostly (except for the Acrobat part - I find Bluebeam far more useful, though it's not free). I almost never want to open a PDF in the browser, because most PDFs are stuff I need to download and keep anyway.

Re:Please God no! (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875622)

I agree, but I don't need Acrobat. I already have a PDF viewer in Emacs. What I'd like is to open Emacs directly in firefox, then I can get PDF viewing for free. Come on, firefox devs! Complete program reuse is the Unix way!

Will they ... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37874912)

Will they include any way to turn off automated content within PDFs? What measures will they take to protect my privacy?

May be the feature that drives me away from FF ...

Re:Will they ... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875248)

It's Firefox, not Chrome. You'll be able to disable it if you want to.

I like the idea... (3, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 2 years ago | (#37874932)

But it scares me. PDFs are hideously complex. Can you really do this without opening a whole new world of security vulnerabilities? I guess it's in the JavaScript engine, and that's where the security is....

On an upside, it's cool to see what sort of document processing is possible when you've got as many CPU cycles as you do these days :).

Re:I like the idea... (1)

BeardedChimp (1416531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875016)

Consider that you can now run a linux virtual machine in javascript. Which you could use to launch a window manager and open the pdf into a native viewer.

Document processing is tame compared to what is possible these days.

Re:I like the idea... (4, Insightful)

philarete (1598473) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875026)

The potential vulnerabilities are there whether the PDF is being opened in Acrobat or in the browser. Adobe Reader/Acrobat is one of the main ways that PCs get infected with malware. Comparing Adobe's security track record with that of Mozilla, I'd much prefer to let Firefox handle PDF viewing.

Consider your environs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875174)

TFA's about a PDF renderer running in Firefox - and what you take out of that for a security concern is the PDF renderer? Um... The horse goes in front.

Re:I like the idea... (1)

arose (644256) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875180)

If it's implemented in sandboxed javascript it can't open any vulnerabilities that couldn't be exploited by any old webpage (unless you run noscript that is).

Re:I like the idea... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875340)

If it's implemented in sandbox javascript (...)

It is, since the demo [github.com] runs as a normal web page, without requiring the installation of any addons.

Re:I like the idea... (1)

arose (644256) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875642)

I know the demo is, less sure about the extension. It might hook into the UI or whatnot.

Re:I like the idea... (3, Insightful)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875754)

Step one make sure that it never ever writes to disk, uses the network, accesses DLLs. A reader should never write. Don't allow any operations that may be insecure and provide them as no-ops only. Any operations that are for display only are allowed, anything else should be highly suspect. Ie, go back to just what version 1 or 2 of PDF formats allowed.

It is absolutely absurd and illogical that something called "Adobe Acrobat READER" has security flaws that allows it to WRITE. Display the document only, only allow rendering. If there are special features that MUST be used for some inane corporate use then require using a separate standalone PDF malware vector for this, but you don't need to provide that broken functionality in a limited browser version.

I tried this days ago. (2)

mhh91 (1784516) | more than 2 years ago | (#37874956)

It does work, but it's still alpha quality at best.

Page layout is messed up.

FIGHT! (0)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875050)

No longer will you have to fight with an external PDF plug-in in Firefox.

I'm sorry but if you are fighting with the PDF plugin you're doing it wrong. Every plugin I've used to read PDFs seems to work pretty seamlessly from Acrobat to Foxit. They just work, no fighting involved.

Frankly I couldn't give a damn about the ability for browsers to read PDFs natively since on every computer I've used recently this doesn't actually add any functionality. PDFs open anyway.

Re:FIGHT! (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875168)

I'm sorry but if you are fighting with the PDF plugin you're doing it wrong. Every plugin I've used to read PDFs seems to work pretty seamlessly from Acrobat to Foxit. They just work, no fighting involved.

But that's usually proprietary software using a non-Slashdot approved license! Think of the children!

Seriously - you're right. Why reinvent the wheel? Just hook into what the OS provides - the Mac has handled PDFs next to forever, and I'm pretty sure Windows 7 does as well. And Linux... well no one uses a GUI there anyway, right?

Re:FIGHT! (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875376)

(...) I'm pretty sure Windows 7 does as well

Nope. Windows only has APIs for their own pet document format (XPS [wikipedia.org] ).

Re:FIGHT! (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875294)

For mousy users embedded readers are fine. For keyboard users it's hell, since plugins grab the focus away from the browser.

How about eradicating PDFs instead? (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875078)

Don't mean to knock Mozilla's hard work here, but how about tackling this problem in the other direction: get rid of PDFs entirely.

Sure, PDFs are great for printing, but who prints anymore? It's 2011.

And before you say "well you can fill out forms with PDF" might I remind you that you can do the same on the web, in plain ol' HTML.

Re:How about eradicating PDFs instead? (4, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875154)

Sure, PDFs are great for printing, but who prints anymore? It's 2011.

You're being serious, right? You think that companies everywhere dumped their printers in the garbage why?

Re:How about eradicating PDFs instead? (1)

kerashi (917149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875236)

PDFs are great when you want to save a document for later, offline use. Like a product manual, which one may refer to once in a while. You can refer to your local copy, and not have to download it every time.

PDF's are also great for preserving the formatting on documents. It takes a lot of effort to get the formatting to appear exactly the way you want it to in HTML in every browser. Now imagine you have 5,000 separate product manuals, which one can either simply and easily export to PDF, or have the headache of converting to HTML (and losing portions of the formatting in the process), and it's an easy choice.

Using PDF's for major portions of websites is stupid, but they do have their place. It's all a matter of using the right tool for the job (or at least the least bad tool).

Re:How about eradicating PDFs instead? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875436)

You know you can save HTML pages too, right? Browsers nowadays are pretty good at saving the page requisites too, like images and CSS files.

Re:How about eradicating PDFs instead? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875476)

As I understand it, popular web browsers aren't yet good at laying out HTML documents for a paged medium (as opposed to an infinitely vertically scrolling medium). How much of the paged media module for CSS do the popular browsers implement?

Re:How about eradicating PDFs instead? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875592)

I was actually referring to the first paragraph of parent's post about saving a local copy for later use. I have no idea how the paged media support is nowadays.

Re:How about eradicating PDFs instead? (1)

presentchaos (1282184) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875254)

Who prints anymore? How about people who work outside the office or from home in the field, whether they are sitting in a movie theater having to write down the trailers, or have to visit several retailers where the signature is necessary. Maybe a person who audits a large electronics store and the audit paperwork exceeds 40 pages? Just a few examples and if people didn't print anymore because it is 2011 maybe you need to convince HP, Lexmark, Brother, Canon to stop making the devices and let Office Max and Staples know they are wasting floor space with their print services because printing is a thing of the past.

Re:How about eradicating PDFs instead? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875416)

Perhaps I'm just feeding the trolls but...

Almost all academic research is published as PDFs. Printed or not, I couldn't get through even one day without opening a PDF.

Re:How about eradicating PDFs instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875422)

Because PDF, unlike most filetypes, is capable of handling vector graphics and embedded fonts so that they can be reliably displayed on any device. In particular, it's also easy to scale with PDF, thanks in large part to the vector support. This means that anyone who can open a PDF file (an open format, I might add) has access to these advantages. This is especially useful for creating documents and posters not destined to be printed professionally, but which also have the same appearance regardless of the system used, and regardless as to whether it's for display or print.

Re:How about eradicating PDFs instead? (5, Insightful)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875496)

PDFs are great for scientific papers. The equations and footnotes are formatted correctly, I can cross reference 30 or 40 pages at once, without trying to click back and forth through ad laden pages, and I can see two pages at once on my wide screen monitor, or go back to a single page if I want to make Preview.app's window smaller.

The alternatives based on Flash are horrible-- the anti-aliasing is subpar, the window can't be resized and so on.

Re:How about eradicating PDFs instead? (3, Insightful)

melikamp (631205) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875772)

PDFs are great for scientific papers.

Only for printing. The difference between PDF (produced from something like LaTeX) and XHTML+MATHML+SVG is that

(1) PDF is paginated nicely, which is essential for printing, and an obvious minus for on-screen viewing.

(2) PDF has lost the content layer [w3.org] , which is nearly irrelevant for printing, and unforgivable for on-screen viewing.

What you really need for scientific papers is a large page that can flexibly display full color text and images. PDF is one of the best ways to describe a printable version, but it's a far cry from the best way to describe an on-line document .

Re:How about eradicating PDFs instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875976)

Scientific papers are done primarily in LaTeX. I'm guessing you don't actually write science papers, eh?

Re:How about eradicating PDFs instead? (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37876032)

PDFs don't flow text, which makes them crap for online reading. I also really hate when the PDF author decides he wants two columns, which really sucks when you have to scroll down and then up to continue reading.

Re:How about eradicating PDFs instead? (2)

MagicM (85041) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875558)

PDFs are great for printing, but who prints anymore?

I do. Better yet, I use PDF to print stamps [usps.com] so that I can send my printed PDF to someone else.

Re:How about eradicating PDFs instead? (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 2 years ago | (#37876158)

I'll be impressed if PDF.js can handle this. I don't know about the USPS version, but Royal Mail's stamp printing relies on security features of PDF that do not work in any third party PDF reader I have seen. Which is a pain because Adobe Acrobat is a bloated pile of security vulnerabilities that manages to freeze Firefox while PDF documents load.

why not ditch pdf? (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875190)

Instead of spending all the time supporting pdfs, why not just ditch the format entirely and make documents with HTML?

Re:why not ditch pdf? (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875300)

Re:why not ditch pdf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37876092)

And that's why web sites don't use PDF, and why not all documents are friggin web sites.

HTML is great, but when I have a document to which I refer to "the bottom of page 2", I do not want to have to qualify this with "depending on which of the five hundred and nineteen trillion possible layout configurations possible with the current software stack and device resolution".

Re:why not ditch pdf? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875402)

For the same reason web developers still need to support IE6: people won't stop using certain software/formats just because we really wish they wouldn't, and we have to deal with it.

Page number references (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875528)

Say I have an element <h3 id="something">something</h3> on one page of a document. On another page of the same document, how do I get the browser to calculate the page number of this element so I can write, for example, "See section 'something' (p. 5)"?

Re:Page number references (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875578)

If you were writing HTML, you wouldn't use "page numbers" at all, you'd just write 'See section <a href="#something">something</a>'.

...once printed (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875734)

So how do I make that link turn into a page number reference once printed? I guess I could make each document available as both HTML for viewing on a scrolling screen and PDF for paper or an e-ink screen, but that isn't "ditch[ing] the format entirely".

Re:Page number references (1)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875706)

For a web document? You hyperlink it. "See section '<a href="section.html#something">something</a>."

PDF is great for documents that will be printed out, though. Unlike what paper-free idealists think, this is a number which is substantially larger than zero -- so the format does have its place. If you're providing it via the web, though, it would generally be polite to provide both an HTML copy and a PDF copy.

Re:Page number references (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875804)

What's a "page"?

Re:why not ditch pdf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875980)

Because HTML has shitty support for vector graphics, and every browser renders things differently, which is exactly the reason that PDF exists to begin with.

goodbye acrobat reader and good riddance (1)

lophophore (4087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875222)

I like how Chrome can display most PDFs right in the browser. No troublesome plugin required.

The last few versions of Acrobat Reader have so much bloat and need to be updated so often, it is nearly more trouble than it's worth.

To have Firefox display PDF directly is wonderful news. Good job!

Re:goodbye acrobat reader and good riddance (1)

godel_56 (1287256) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875462)

I like how Chrome can display most PDFs right in the browser. No troublesome plugin required.

The last few versions of Acrobat Reader have so much bloat and need to be updated so often, it is nearly more trouble than it's worth.

Foxit Reader is tiny compared to Acrobat.

BTW, they've just released V5.1 for Windows.

Re:goodbye acrobat reader and good riddance (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875506)

If you get a real reader with editing capabilities you'd find the experience much better. Adobe is not the best our there; Bluebeam is awesome if you need to make notations in PDFs. I wish they had a version for tablets.

Re:goodbye acrobat reader and good riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875934)

Why are you recommend $179 PDF-editing software to a commenter that never mentioned needing to edit PDFs? The issue at hand here is the latency, overhead, and security concerns of having a third-party PDF reader have to operate within the browser; being able to notate PDFs with Bluebeam addresses absolutely _none_ of those concerns.

Depends on what "features" Firefox enables (5, Insightful)

knorthern knight (513660) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875452)

PDF started out as "Portable Display Format" that showed you what a document would look like if you sent it to a decent printer.. If it had stayed that way, it would be ideal. Unfortunately Adobe succumbed to the Microsoft/Mozilla "features disease". The "latest greatest" versions now support javascript, live URLs that you can click and go to. And then there's "/launch" (it's not a security hole, it's a feature). Not to mention support for schlockwave trash.

Over the years people have complained about how every new version of Adobe Reader is more bloated, and takes longer to load than its predecessor. If Firefox offers a lightweight PDF ***READER***, I'm all for it. But puhlease, not all the stupid features in Adobe's version. Speaking of versions, the one feature I strongly suggest is that Mozilla allows its PDF engine to lie about what it is. Just like asshole webdesigners who hardcode Internet-Explorer-only into their web pages, I'm sure there are idiots who hardcode their webpages to only allow Adobe Reader above a certain version to access their PDF documents.

That does it. (2, Insightful)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875508)

If this finds it's way into FF, I'll finally will ditch FF.
They are WAY of the KISS path. Updates every week, new GUI every 6 weeks. FRELL THAT!
I want long term stability in my browser. Not this crap.

FF. Time to branch the development. One for BS and one for KISS. I'll install the plugins I need.
Oh. About:plugins. Stop breaking them every 3 months.

Neat! (1)

OQuotes (2483486) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875668)

Pretty neat. Leave it to Firefox!

Will it also be able to save html as pdf? (1)

Toddlerbob (705732) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875690)

I know the answer to this must be no, at least in the short term, but I would think that the same engine might some day be used for that purpose, which I would use a lot, as I often save web pages, and I usually save them in that awful format with the text separated from the directory of resources, because that's what every browser, even old models, can read. It would be nice to save web pages or even web sites from the browser into pdf, like I used to do with Adobe Acrobat, back when I could afford to buy such things.

Re:Will it also be able to save html as pdf? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37875822)

You can easily do that today with any of the free "Print to PDF" applications (in Windows; in OS X, it is built-in, and I'm pretty sure this is the case for Linux as well).

Goodbye, developer version of Google Chrome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875970)

The only reason I had Google Chrome (and deleted all of its updating components!) was to look at PDF files.

If Firefox can eventually do this job as nicely as that old Chrome version, then goodbye, Chrome!

Congratulations to Firefox... (1)

Shag (3737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37876150)

...for adding a capability Safari has had for over five years. :)

But seriously - the sooner we get to a point where all major browsers have this capability built-in, the sooner we can be free of the abomination that is "Acrobat plugin."

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