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    Re: ADMIN: previews of some documents temporarily disabled
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2015 Feb 21, 13:14 -0800

    I wrote previously:

    I noticed recently that previews of PDF files and other complex document types are no longer being generated. They previously were created by accessing the very flexible "Google Docs Viewer". As in so many other cases, Google decided to break something that was working just fine, and that viewer is no longer available as a general, practical tool. It has been replaced by a consumer-oriented service (hey fine, create a service, but why remove something that was working for other users??).

    Monopolies are bad.

    I have begun working on an alternative. This requires coding a new interface to some other document preview tool. It will take time, but it's a feature that I consider important to the usability of the NavList message boards and archives, so it will get done.

    Mission accomplished. Previews for PDF documents are now being generated again and are retro-actively generated for posts which did not receive them during the outage. For example, if you visit Robert Bernecky's post on the Nautical Almanac Concise Sight Reduction Tables, you will see that it now includes a preview (jpeg image sample) of his nice PDF article on this topic. Previews of certain other types of complex documents are a much lower priority, but they will be available again soon, too.

    This was a rather time-consuming task requiring about ten hours of investigation and asp.net/node.js coding. Gifts are welcome --contribute here-- but please only if you have not donated recently.

    Frank Reed
    Conanicut Island USA

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