Macworld exclusively reported in News, and Reviews, August 99 that Adobe Acrobat 4.0 for the Mac did not have the same features as the PC version.
However, Adobe announced in November the free plug-ins for Macintosh users which fill that gap. Namely, the Web Capture feature, digital-signature support, Web Buy and the ability to send emails directly from the page.
E-commerce has thrown up many issues regarding security and methods of identification. The Web Buy plug-in allows you to download encrypted files in PDF Merchant – a server-based technology, that can be used alongside e-commerce products for secure transactions and encrypted PDF files. This allows your computer to be individually identified, in a similar way cookie string.
Whether you want to authenticate a purchase online or are “signing off” important documents, being able to add your own digital signature is becoming more important. Adobe’s SelfSign allows users to create personal valid authority, meaning there’s no need for a CA (Certificate of Authority).
The biggest new feature is the Web Capture utility. It lets you connect to a specified URL, and download and convert images, text, frames and links from a Web site. You then view the site in PDF format.
Downloading, recording and restoring the links took some time – although Acrobat warned me that it would. You can set conversion preferences before downloading – such as size and file type. However, it still took about half an hour to collect 50 pages.
Database-generated information can be gathered easily. You can fill out Web forms in the downloaded PDF version and post your query without having to launch mail client software.
It would, however, be useful to show the time taken to download a site as well as the number of bytes collected. Also, you can specify what level of download to make, but not what to miss out. Some form fields were re-sized and I couldn’t find any way to stop this happening.
As the plug-ins are free from the Adobe Web site, I recommend that you get them. Even if just for the extra Web security and the phone-bill saving capture ability. Once you’ve downloaded the Web Buy plug-in, you can download selections from popular books for free.