[ANN] PDFviewer plugin updated

We have updated our free PDFviewer to version 4.0. The PDF viewer adds the ability to view PDF files to IDEA natively using the JPedal PDF library. This is the version we used for our Javaone talk on writing plugins (which can be downloaded from the site).

Version 4.0 key changes are:-

1. Search function to allow users to search documents.
2. Better toolbars.
3. Update to latest version of JPedal library.
4. Zipped copy of whole project available.

Plugin can be downloaded from inside IDEA or from out site.

Full details are at http://www.jpedal.org/idea.php

14 comments

This has always been an excellent and useful plugin, but i can't understand what possessed you to add nine buttons (including a logo) to the Idea toolbar, plus a menu-item. From what i remember, earlier versions simply had the buttons at the top of the pdf viewer window (tab), where they were only visible when the plugin was in use. This was a far more sensible design, and the buttons didn't reduce the viewing area much (if i need a larger viewing area, I can configure Adobe AcroRead as an external tool).

Realistically, Idea users will use the IDE mostly for working with java code, rather than for viewing pdf, which means the toolbar buttons add unnecessary clutter. If every plugin developer added just one button to the Idea toolbar, it would soon cause chaos. To add nine is taking liberties.

As I said, your plugin is excellent (definitely one of the best) but the new placement of the contols seems to be based on the wrong assumption that the average user of Idea is regularly viewing pdf rather than java. Maybe the next version could allow the user to configure it to put the buttons back on the tab?

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We were trying to integrate the plugins more into the IDEs as well as adding the search window.

We'll see if we can make it a configurable option in a later release.

The source code for the whole project is at http://www.jpedal.org/idea.php so its very easy to hack it out by commenting out the lines in the control file.

MArkee

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I had exactly the same complaint when I updated the plugin, but luckily, IDEA lets you easily remove the buttons (Settings | IDE Settings | Customizations | Main Toolbar).

Regards,
Jens

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I've added your comment to IDEA plugin page. Thanks for the suggestion.

MArkee

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I was aware of the remedy suggested by Jens', but it ignores the fact that you end-up with no buttons for the plugin. My point was that the buttons are useful but simply in the wrong place for users that simply need to view pdf documents a few times a day/week (especially when you've added a logo twice the size of anyone else's button). Obviously, there will be users writing software that interacts with pdf and they would probably think the new placement is a sensible idea.

One way to deal with the two types of user is to have some sort of configuration where the user decides where the buttons are placed.

A second possibility (though I've no idea if this is possible), is to add the buttons on-the-fly, so that they are only visable on the toolbar when a pdf document is being viewed.

A further improvement would be to allow the user to use the (e.g.) '+/-', 'page-up/page-down' keyboard-keys to interact with the viewer.

Sorry if feedback from me seemed a bit negative. Your plugin has long been one of the best and the good points are so obvious that it would be pointless of me to mention them.

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Points taken but we can only spend so long refining a free plugin.

The source is fully available so if you have any practical suggestions we would welcome them.

MArkee

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Brent,

You asked us to rethink the buttons on the PDF viewer.

We are doing an update to all the plugins so I have put it back as you suggest.

As soon as I have it uploaded I will put out a new Announcement.

Regards,

MArk

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Mark,

Thank you, it was always a nuisance having all those buttons on Idea's main toolbar at times when i wasn't using the plugin.

I've taken a quick look at the revised plugin and can give you the following feed-back.

I'm running Idea 7.0.2 (EAP build 7562) on Windows XP with a 19" monitor at 1280 x 1024. The buttons seem a bit over-large, giving the plugin a clunky look. Maybe if they were all the same size as the '+' and '-' buttons it would look far better.

What does seem odd is that when i've passed the cursor over the buttons i get an odd painting effect behind them, which looks like a bug. I'll attach a screenshot.

Another thing i've noticed is that the button for 'go forward one page' doesn't seem to work on my two page document.

The 'PDF_FIND' button in Idea's lower toolbar brings-up a window which allows me to search the document is functioning correctly but when i close that window and re-open it all i get is a grey rectangle (i.e. the textbox, search button, etc are all gone). I tried closing the document and re-opening it but this didn't fix the problem. I was only able to get the window to function correctly after closing Idea and re-starting it but when as I closed the PDF_FIND window again I experienced the same problem when i re-opened it.

Naturally, these are just teething-troubles with new code. The plugin is very useful and i get the feeling that it's based on an excellent set of libraries. The good points are too obvious to mention.

I may be offline until Thursday, so i probably won't be able to give any further response until then.

regards,

Brent



Attachment(s):
pdfviewer.jpg
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See what we can do.

There is a regression in the bookmarks so I will do another update next week to fix this.

Markee

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Nice big update now out :)

MArkee

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Excellent, it looks good and seems quite fast. When i see software like this i wonder why Adobe can't come-up with anything better than AcroRead.

I did find one minor bug. The button to advance forward by one page doesn't eventually take me to the final page. i.e. for a four-page document it will only take me as far as page 3, and for a two page document I'm stuck on page 1. This isn't a major problem as the button for advancing to the end of the document can be used as a work-around. There is no such problem with the button for going back one page.

Actually, when i opened Idea (7.0.3 build 7757) it told me your updated plugin was available, but when i went to the PluginManager it didn't indicate that the old one was out of date (though i was able to force a download of the updated plugin).

Sorry, this was meant to be a response to your release in March 2008 and I've put it in as a reply to the thread's initial message. I didn't notice until after I'd posted.

Edited by: Brent King on Mar 21, 2008 12:43 PM

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Thanks for the feeback. We;ll have a look at the bug.

We will be talking on plugins at javaone in town if you are in town.

We actually licensed our PDF library to Adobe - they use it in ColdFusion.

Regards,

MArk

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We've fixed the final page bug you mentioned - will upload next week.

Not sure how to tell IDEA that previous version has expired.

MArk

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Fixed and posted full details in March announcement.

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