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Punts flacs d’iOS: Anotacions a iBooks

Fem els passos següents:

– Agafem una pàgina en Safari que volem conservar i passem-la per l’acció Save PDF to iBooks del botó compartir.
– Es fa la conversió a PDF i automàticament el document resultant s’obre en iBooks, però l’única cosa que s’hi pot fer és crear marcadors (bookmarks).
– Al PDF, no intenteu destacar text, inserir una fletxa o un requadre o escriure una nota; no es pot.
– Tampoc es pot enviar aquest document a la carpeta de Previsualització (Preview) d’iCloud Drive.

Accions possibles en iBooks quan selecciones text: copiar, definir i cercar
Les accions permeses en iBooks quan selecciones text en un PDF no inclouen destacar-lo.
Botó Compartir en iBooks, que permet imprimir el document i enviar-lo per correu electrònic
El botó ‘Compartir’ en iBooks d’iOS no permet a l’usuari enviar el document a la carpeta Previsualització d’iCloud Drive.

És un punt flac o més aviat una deficiència palmària del sistema operatiu?

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Weaknesses of iOS: Annotating in iBooks

This is how the test goes:

– Take a page in Safari you want to keep and pass it through the ‘Save PDF to iBooks’ sharing action.
– You automatically get the new PDF opened in iBooks, but the only thing you can do in it is inserting a bookmark.
– Don’t try to highlight text, add an arrow or a square or write a comment; such actions aren’t possible.
– You cannot even send this document to the Preview folder in iCloud Drive.

The Sharing action in iBooks on iOS
The ‘Sharing’ action in iBooks on iOS doesn’t allow the user to send the document to the Preview folder in iCloud Drive.
Actions when selecting text on a PDF in iBooks
The actions provided by the app when selecting text on a PDF don’t include highlighting it.

Is that a weakness or a conspicuous failure?

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PDF management across devices

I’ve recently talked about PDF workflows in this threat, where someone asked for feedback about using Papers 3 and Devon Think Pro. I cannot bring up anything about Devon Think, which I haven’t used, but someone did, and it turns out both applications complement each other satisfactorily.

I’ve already reviewed Papers 3 here (in Catalan). I commented on my experience with it and explained why I dropped it. Needless to say, my personal experience is nothing more than a single testimony. Anyway, I kept looking for a solution I can adopt and it turns out I may have found it. It’s called EagleFiler and I plan to use it in conjunction with Goodreader, that is to say, I will place my libraries in the Goodreader folder in iCloud Drive, so that I can access all the documents stored in them from every Apple device.

EagleFiler-finestra

Prior to any other consideration, there’s the issue with iCloud Drive and some folders not showing up in it, which is something that happened to me. The solution has been to completely sign out from iCloud (only in the main machine, in my case), then restarting the computer and eventually signing in again. Once the Goodreader folder on place, trying EagleFiler has proven to be easy. The big inconvenience is that the main Photos library has to be uploaded to the cloud from scratch.

With EagleFiler, I can create different libraries. In Goodreader on the iPad, I see those libraries on the iCloud folder. The iCloud syncing process isn’t fast, not even close. However, as iCloud Drive files get backed up on the iMac and the MacBook Pro, I feel save. Moreover, with a €0.99 cents fee per month, I can store up to 50GB in it. EagleFiler picks the PDF metadata and Finder tags already assigned to files. Consequently, the best practice is to apply tags to files and fill in the PDF metadata (I use PDFpen for that) prior to adding any file to the EagleFiler library of choice.

One of the most valuable features of EagleFiler, in my humble opinion, is that its libraries are an open format. In order to guarantee data integrity, documents are not processed. They are stored as-is. That’s exactly what I needed. In general, EagleFiler’s interface and the integration with Goodreader may not make the ideal environment to most people. To me, they do.

Summing up, I encourage anyone in need of a good workflow to deal with PDFs to look at these two applications. Give them a try. Why not?

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An iOS mystery

One can’t quite understand there isn’t an iOS app parallel to Mac OS X’s Preview. In the current state of things, in order to have PDF documents available on desktop and mobile devices, one has to use a folder from any iOS application intended to manage PDFs.

iCloud Drive folder
iCloud Drive folder containing the Goodreader’s, an iOS app.

 

And such apps are a bunch. Personally, I own PDFpen 2 and GoodReader. Another app well recognised is PDF Expert 5, by Readdle. Allegedly, the lack of a PDF viewer from Apple opens the door to third party actors and allows them to work whitout the competition of the mother company. However, there we have the e-mail and the browser apps. I use iCab Mobile more and more as a Safari alternative, either in the iPad or the iPhone, and that doesn’t mean Safari shouldn’t exist. As for e-mail, I haven’t tried anything different from the Apple’s own yet, but I could and many have done it.

So then, what’s the matter? Isn’t dealing with PDFs a service of the same rank than e-mail and web browsing? What I said in the title: a mystery.

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Un misteri d’iOS

No s’entén gaire que iOS no tingui una apli anàloga a Previsualització de Mac OS X. Si existís, la carpeta de Previsualització d’iCloud Drive tindria més utilitat, la mateixa que tenen les altres que hi són presents. Actualment, doncs, els documents PDF que un vulgui tenir disponibles en tots els dipositius han d’anar a la carpeta d’alguna aplicació d’iOS de gestió de PDFs.

Carpeta iCloud Drive i carpeta GoodReader
Carpeta iCloud Drive, què s’observa la carpeta de l’apli Goodreader d’iOS.

 

No és pas que en faltin, d’aplicacions d’aquestes. Personalment, tinc PDFpen 2 i GoodReader. També té una bona acceptació PDF Expert 5, de Readdle. Es podria dir que la manca d’una apli pròpia d’Apple per a PDFs dóna empenta a una pila de programadors que poden treballar sense la competència de l’empresa de referència. Segur que sí. Tanmateix, podríem fer la comparació amb el correu electrònic i el navegador. Jo utilitzo iCab Mobile cada vegada més com a alternativa a Safari, tant a l’iPad com a l’iPhone, i això no significa que Safari no hagi d’existir. Quant al correu, no he sortit mai de l’aplicació nativa, però ho podria fer i molts ja ho han fet.

Així doncs, ¿què passa?, ¿que la gestió de PDFs no és un servei de la mateixa categoria que el correu electrònic i la navegació per internet? És el que deia al títol: un misteri.