I am writing an iPad application. The main view of the application will be a PDF. I have made considerable progress in parsing out the contents of the PDF.

The application will also have at least two "side views". These side views may or may not themselves be driven by PDF files. That is part of what I am trying to figure out.

The main PDF will contain some hidden buttons which cause the side view to show certain things. For example, there might be a button over the name "Lincoln" that brings up a side view about Abe Lincoln, another one over the name "Washington" that brings up a side view about George Washington, and so on. The creation of these hidden buttons should be driven by data in the main PDF. I'm thinking this means annotations.

Two questions:

1) Is there one type of annotation that I might prefer over another? Options I can see include actions, URIs, and maybe links -- but the last one could be complicated by the numerous internal links within the PDF.

2) Should I use PDFs for the side views? What are the arguments, pro and con?


A) Ease of moving the app to other platforms later
B) Pirating. I would prefer that someone who got my PDFs not be able to reproduce the app without some work.

EDIT: answering the questions posed in an answer:

By "action", I mean "PDF action". See section 12.6 of the [http://www.adobe.com/devnet/pdf/pdf_reference.html](PDF specification).

The main view is a PDF because that's the format the content author is comfortable creating. But since this PDF will be embedded in the app, I have to assume that it could escape "into the wild".

1 Answer 1


1) URIs and links are universal, they're your friends and enable anything. what is an action for you ?

2) Why are you using a PDF in the center view ? is it some sort of PDF reader ? If yes, why do you bother parsing instead of embedding existing pdf-readers ? If you're already using PDF for the center, why would it be any worse to use it on the side ??

A) If you're concerned about other platforms, why not make it web ?

B) All source code can be stolen, your app will always be much easier to copy than to write and if you want to keep your market share your only solution is to remain ahead in terms of customer perception (i.e. noone switches from your app to the copy and people switch from the copy to your app because you have the features first and it works better).

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