Measure Twice Cut Once… using the Right Tools

Measure Twice Cut Once… using the Right Tools

Measure twice, cut once. It’s a common enough expression and it was taught to me in the most literal sense by my Shop teacher in high school. At that time, the only cost to me was time, the school paid for the supplies. The true cost of measure twice, cut once, hit me hard in later life when I bought a house in San Francisco. Like most first time home buyers I was “house poor” and the house I was poor for needed a few minor repairs. I decided to do the repairs myself since there were just a few chipped baseboards that needed to be replaced and some molding that I wanted to put up. Being house poor and frightened at the price tag on an electric, compound miter saw, I bought myself one of these…

saw

… and then I did as I was taught, I measured twice, I cut once… then I cut again… then again… and then I got in the car and drove back to Home Depot to buy more moulding… and a beautiful DeWalt 12 Inch Double-Bevel Compound Miter Saw… which I still have almost 20 years later and still works like a charm. While I had obeyed the literal meaning of the advice, the tool I used to make the cut wasn’t up to the task. It didn’t provide the precision I needed and it wasn’t flexible enough to handle the not-quite-right-angles that every home in San Francisco built before the last big quake has.

I was reminded of this time in my life when a Datalogics employee hit a certain milestone on Stack Overflow. His reputation is about three times that of mine and achieving it requires quite a bit of dedication… and patience. The kind of patience I just don’t have. Why? Because so many of the questions posed on Stack Overflow about PDF show that developers are simply being let down by their tools. As PDF gained in popularity, so did developer tools. But far too many of those tools don’t fully implement the PDF specification, and the parts that they do support, they support poorly. I want to be able to tell people to switch to a more capable tool set but that’s not helpful. Many developers have invested years of their time into developing expertise in one tool or another. But while the PDF tool you’ve settled on may initially provide the capabilities you need, scope-creep happens. Developing expertise in a PDF tool that supports only a fraction of what users expect from a PDF is a sure fire way to paint yourself into a corner and limit what you can offer. Additionally, many PDF developer tools were developed when Adobe Reader was almost guaranteed to be the environment that the PDF was being viewed in. These tools relied on the fact that the Reader could repair most malformed PDF and fill in the parts that were required for proper viewing but the tool failed to insert. In short, these tools could afford to be sloppy, Adobe was fixing their files on the fly. But that’s no longer the case. With Adobe Reader now being the least likely PDF viewer that users first encounter the PDF file, developers must do more work on the server to create a consistent viewing experience across multiple desktop, browser-based, application-based, and mobile PDF viewers. Because the client side PDF market is fracturing, the server applications need to have the same level of precision and flexibility that Adobe Reader had.

Datalogics supplies developers with the same tools that Adobe uses to build their own applications, the same precision, the same flexibility. If PDF is critical to your business, skip past the lesser alternatives and buy the DeWalt Datalogics tools.

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