Office 2007 Foxit PDF Previewer/Handler
Tim Heuer gives to the community and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Everyone's been waiting ((and waiting) and waiting) for a PDF Previewer for Outlook 2007. I'm shocked that Adobe didn't get their act together in time and release one at the time of the launch. It would have been a compelling enough reason to actually put the
crapware software on my system.
Well, of course you know I love Foxit Software because their tiny and glorious little PDF Reader (and PDF Creator) software keeps my computer moving fast and Adobe-(Reader) free.
Update for clarity - I'm complaining about how slow Acrobat 7 is, especially with regard to all it's plugins that it starts up during the splash screen. It's true that Foxit has crashed on larger PDFs and there's some quirky rendering sometimes, but I currently still prefer it for "casual PDF'ing." As for Adobe the company, I love PhotoShop, so I'm not impugning the whole building.
Now, Tim has combined the Foxit ActiveX SDK and an MSDN sample on how to create an Office Preview Handler and just called Foxit up. (The MSDN one uses Acrobat if you like.)
Bam. It was done.
WARNING: The PDF Previewer only works on Vista right now. Tim says via email:
"The problem with XP is that the preview handler model is slightly different.
In Vista, the preview handler is provided through a managed preview surrogate (you can see it running when you do a preview) called prevhost.exe. In XP, this doesn’t exist and the preview must be handled by a COM surrogate."
Last year Tim wrote a Code Preview Handler (not sure if this works in XP?) so I guess I'll be collecting the best of these, methinks!
Let's all go over and crush Tim's blog with comments of encouragement. And convince him to make XP versions. He says:
"So, the next step for this project for me is to create the managed COM host for this code-base. I have some stuff researched…but anyone interested in providing that host is appreciated. Time is not on my side for that one."
If you have the expertise and can write the unmanaged COM code, give him a shout.
Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
I just wish they would release it free for all purposes, commercial or non-commercial.
Check the page:
As far as previewers go, you're right we (Adobe) don't have one yet. For that matter, Acrobat and Reader don't even officially support Vista yet. This is because Vista ended up slipping out past the Reader/Acrobat 8 ship deadline and we didn't want to take the leap of faith to support Vista when it wasn't finished and we didn't want to delay our ship date until after Microsoft shipped. We do have a Vista compatible dot release in the works. In the meantime, I think its great that Tim Heuer has done this, but there is a big difference between releasing an unsupported, hackish utility and releasing a supported product that gets used by literally millions of people.
As for speed, Reader 8 starts a heck of a lot faster than earlier versions. Foxit is still faster, but not that much faster. And Reader 8 has GPU support so the actual PDF reading experience is quite a bit faster on modern Vista machines.
I should also point out that Vista doesn't even ship with an XPS previewer, so Microsoft is just as guilty as Adobe in that respect. Are you just as shocked by that, Scott? Let's hear your outrage!
My question was more about your comment that your computer is Adobe-free, which seemed a sweeping condemnation of their products. I wonder if that's what you meant?
I agree that XPS is just confusing and half-done, at least from a UX perspective. I have little use for it over PDF.
I also agree that that while Tim is cool as is his hack, it is just a hack. YMMV. It's just currently a salve on a festering wound - the missing previewers.
I don’t know if I agree with the non-waiting for Vista thing, but it seems you're probably right as EVERYONE did just what you did - wait and see. And that’s cool.
I do have one question - you said in the first breath that Reader doesn’t support Vista, but then you said that Reader 8 has GPU support under Vista...is that the current or the dot release of Reader 8?
Brant - no, I'm all about Photoshop. I'll edit to clear it up.
"In modern computer programming, a "hack" can refer to a solution or method which functions correctly but which is "ugly" in its concept, which works outside the accepted structures and norms of the environment, or which is not easily extendable or maintainable"
I suppose by this definition, it is extendable and maintainable since you are supporting it. I guess it felt "ugly" (nothing personal, not a good word) because it didn't come FROM Foxit, and that you said on your blog that they weren't supporting it.
If the release process was inverted and Foxit had release the exact same tool, I suppose I wouldn't have said "hack."
I just really want a pile of vendor released supported previewer - meaning, that the VS.NET team would have code previewers (does yours work on XP?) and Adobe would release a PDF Previewer, and Mindjet, etc...that you HAD to do the previewer yourself - that the pain of the missing previewer was so great - is a bummer, no?
That said, for the computer literate types who are willing to take a few risks, I think your tool is very useful and would recommend it to people who want such a solution now.
Comments are closed.
So, you don't have Flash installed? PDF is a bloated pig, but is Adobe really so atrocious across the board?