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blowagie (284) [Avatar] Offline
We are now in the final stage of producing the book. This means it is difficult to apply changes. Several people have sent me interesting suggestions. I post them here in case I ever write a 'second edition'.

1. Extra appendix?

The PDF Reference for PDF 1.6 contains a appendix c about implementation limits for acrobat. You refer to it at 2.1.1.. Your book should contain something similar if there are different limits. Some things not mentioned there but interesting for me e.g. behaviour concerning 2 GB file limit.

My answer: point taken. I tried to limit duplicating information that is already explained in full in the PDF Reference, but the limits are important enough to consider if I am asked to write a second edition.

2. PDF versions:

You should add PDF-1.7 and Acrobat 8 to the list.

My answer: true, but there isn't a PDF Reference for 1.7 yet smilie
This is a typical problem when you are writing about a format that is very much alive.

3. I would love to see more tables and pictures about what is in itext and how it works together.

My answer: last time I counted, there were 229 illustrations in the book. I could have added more, but then the book would have even more pages. I decided to give priority to screenshots, because that's what I lack in the PDF Reference: what does a PDF with this or that functionality look like? As for tables: maybe I could put more reference material on the site. I didn't want to overload the book.

4. Does the unexperienced reader understand the difference between named destinations and bookmarks (outlines)?

My answer: I honestly don't know. It's always difficult to assess what the reader knows and what the reader doesn't know. I think the simple approach of chapter 4 with class Anchor and classes Chapter/Section gives the reader an idea (intuitively) what it's about. In part 4 I approach bookmarks (outlines) and destinations in a more technical way.

5. Table 3.2 AllowPrinting, one day a collegue told me he has a file with *disallowedprinting*. After puting it on a redmon printer device with ghostscript this file has allowedprinting. So using these right degration features are not safe in general. Ghostscript can not differ really between printing and viewing when used like this.

My answer: true, initially I had remarks about viewing PDF in Preview, Foxit, GhostScript,... but these were edited away. These remarks are useful, but with every book there's stuff that is dropped...

6. Why not spend more time on the iText Swing functionality and the iText Toolbox. It has some new features that aren's discussed in the book.

My answer: I mention Swing in chapter 12, and there are small Toolbox examples throughout the book, but Swing/the toolbox aren't the main scope of the book. On p368 (intro of section 12.2) I wrote: "I could rewrite the previous chapter from the point of view of the Swing developer." This sounds like a joke, but it isn't: I really could! Maybe I should smilie But that was really outside the scope of this book.

7. One thing I think you've underplayed in the book - use of iText to automatically generate forms with repetitive, but similar, blocks of fields. I see great potential for savings of time and for greater accuracy by using iText as the form generator, and Acrobat's Forms Tool as a form "inspector", rather than using the Acrobat Forms Tool to manually construct such a form.

My answer: the book implicitly tells you how to do it, but there's room for some extra examples concerning forms. Maybe I'll write an extra article about this.

Global answer: I have received many suggestions that would allow me to write an extra 600 pages, but I'd like to quote one of the people who has sent me some of the suggestions listed above: "the book is a big win for the iText community and world of pdf in general." It's the first book about iText, based on over 7 years experience reading and answering questions on the mailing list. Nevertheless, I am very happy with the response, and I will take the suggestions into account in case I write a second edition, or maybe some extra chapters for this book.