Newsletter Index

Stop Press! Chromebook support

Although there is no native ChromeOS version of the Javelin3 reader, most Chromebooks now support Android and the Google Play appstore facility. The Javelin3 for Android reader can be downloaded and used on these devices. The screenshot below shows the Javelin3 for Android app running on an Acer Chromebook with no mouse or touchscreen, just using the touchpad - it works perfectly, and it is even better with a mouse!- the document displayed is the sample "Alice in Wonderland" book with horizontal scrolling and an example markup (highlighting).

1. Can individual user access to an issued secure PDF document be instantly enabled or disabled?

A. Online services
YES: With our online PDF services access to specific documents is controlled in two ways: by username/password login access control (this is user-level access management) and by membership of a specific usergroup that is associated with the document in question. Each may be enabled or disabled via the User Management facilities provided on our WEBDOXX and PDF2HTML5 web sites. In both cases access control is via the individual's user record. Date expiry control for both types of access is also provided. Publishers who use their own user access management systems to front-end our web-based services will also have this level of control.
B. Offline services
YES: There are several facilities provided as standard. These include management of registered users (JavelinPro and Javelin3Pro users) and management of files and codes. For "Pro" users (on Windows platforms) publishers can request that a specific document or user be disabled by our service management team, for example if they leave an organization or are found to misuse content (bespoke systems may be enabled to enable publishers to perform this operation themselves). There are also NEW facilities for enabling/disabling access to documents via new and earlier versions of our offline software and services, as described below:
code options
NEW: The latest versions of the Javelin3 readers on PC/Windows, Mac and Android platforms provide for code-specific disabling. Disabling a code means that a user will not be able to view the file any longer even if they have previously used that code to authorize and view a document. As such this facility is similar to the "Pro" edition functionality described above. To use this facility the publisher will need to know the code issued to that user for the document in question. The publisher can then use the latest version of DrumlinPublisher, Codes tab to select the code in question and enable or disable that code - See image above). If the code applies to multiple documents (e.g. a common code issued for several files to an individual or group of individuals) then it must be disabled for each documentID separately. Note that if the same code is issued for a document to multiple users disabling it will affect all such users.
Earlier versions of Javelin3 and Javelin readers:
(a) any code that has not been used can be reset to have a usage count of 0 or can be deleted, and so will not be available for use.
(b) if an existing user is issued with a new code the publisher can see if the device details and IPAddress is the same for the new code as for the original code by checking the activity log summary. This is a basic check for consistency of usage.
(c) if the user says they do not want the file or they need it on a new device whilst they have the file on an existing device, you can ask them to select the file and use the Remove authorization option in Javelin3 and Javelin readers to ensure the details of authorization are removed - if they do this (as described in the documentation for each reader version) then a log message identifying the removal is sent to the DRM server so the publisher can check this before issuing a new code or code reset.
To use the new facility Download and install the latest version of DrumlinPublisher. Then run DrumlinPublisher, login and use the Codes tab to select the target document and double-click it to view the Codes for that document - pick the code issued to the target user that is to be disabled and double-click or right click to see the pop-up menu shown above. As can be seen, it now includes the option to DISABLE CODE(S) and ENABLE CODE(S) - codes are enabled by default and have a "status" of 1 in the screenshot above. if a code is disabled its "status" changes to 0 and an end user who has used that code to open and view a secure PDF (drmz file) will no longer be able to access the file after initially trying to open it again. A new activity log entry is made relating to such events.
Code editing/tailoring and code resetting:
In addition, as can be seen from the screenshot above, it is now possible to edit an authorization code, so you can create an authorization code and then change it, for example to a string you would like to issue to a particular user or group of end users. For example, you could change gcae27xd7 shown below to jan2020 if you wanted - note that authcodes must be at least 4 characters long, and by default are generated with 9 characters. Lower case characters and numerals are recommended, avoiding letters and numbers that may be confused with each other.
Finally, using the Set Counter option we now enable publishers to reset a code to a higher value than 1 - the reset value can be made to the maximum permitted for the userID in question (typically this will be a maximum value of 5). So if we have permitted a maximum counter value of 25, then the code can be reset to 25.

2. Understanding navigation facilities for PDF documents

PDF documents are essentially exact images of printed or printable materials, for example printed books, training courseware, layout diagrams etc. As such they have limited facilities for fast navigation unless the publisher enables additional facilities and/or the PDF reader supports these "navigation aids". The simplest form of fast navigation is to use the text search facilities provided by the PDF reader, which will locate text strings within the document IF the PDF is text-based (i.e. not a set of scanned page images) and is properly structured (some PDF generators produce very poorly formatted PDF files with broken text strings, so searches can fail to find the text required). In addition fast navigation facilities that may be available (if the publisher and reader provide them, include:
  • Thumbnails page images (of limited value)
  • Outlines, also known as Navigation trees or Bookmarks (these can be created in the source editor, e.g. InDesign or MS Word) or by post-processing the output PDF (manually or semi-automatically using special bookmarking software)
  • Search facilities (simple or powerful fast text searching of single or multiple documents (usually single)
A. Online services
Our standard online service viewer support all three of the above facilities via the Sidebar, typically displayed when the multi-dot icon in the toolbar, top left, is clicked or touched
B. Offline services
Our offline Javelin3 readers all support text search plus a Sidebar or Outline list or Contents button in order to access the Outlines provided by the publisher - if there is no Outline/Navigation tree displayed then none has been provided in the source file.

3. Is it possible to add markup and annotations to secured PDFs?

YES: although most third-party encrypted PDF systems do not support markup (e.g. highlighting) and annotation (addition of notes) because the documents are "locked" so cannot have any form of editing, Javelin3 readers all support both markup and annotation. Our online services do not provide markup and annotation at present. The markup/annotation details are stored in a separate file on the device with pointers that ensure they relate to the page and position in the source file (e.g. in an .annots file on PCs) and are local to the device. Such additional files are specific to the OS version and Javelin version being used.

4. Using catalogs for fast and simple document downloading

Delivering secured PDFs to end user devices raises a number of questions - for cross-platform Offline services end users find it easiest to simply point-and-click or touch the item they require rather than manually downloading and saving the file somewhere safe on their device, and then accessing the downloaded file via the Javelin3 reader for that platform. Our offline catalogs facility provides this functionality and is highly reliable on all platforms. This minimizes problems for end users and hence minimizes support requirements for the publisher. A set of templates instructions for cross-platform document distribution using catalogs or via direct downloads are provided here. Many of our clients use suitably amended versions of these templates, either hosted on their own servers or using our facilities. Versions in Chinese and Spanish are also available.

5. Transferring markup and annotations between PCs

If you have a marked-up document that you want to use on another PC (e.g. a copy at home that you want to use in the office) you can now use the Backup/Restore functionality in Javelin3 for Windows, to create a special backup copy of your secured document PLUS the markup and then copy this backup file to another PC. Restore the backup using the File menu, Restore backup option, and assuming you have a valid authorization code for the second device, the file will then be viewable on that device together with its markup/annotations. Care should be taken when doing this kind of operation as the restored file will copy its markup and could over-write existing markup for that document if it is already installed and marked up on the second device.

6. Recommendations for smaller screen usage (Windows, iOS and Android)

The PDF format is page-based and font size, color etc. cannot be changed, so larger screens (tablet devices, desktops and laptops are always best for this kind of material. Mobile phones can be used but will be difficult to read for any length of time. For smaller screen/lower resolution Windows PCs (e.g. with less than 800px width) we recommend opening the target ebook and then: 1. Use the View menu and tick the first entry, which is the "single page" mode - select that one so it displays one page at a time rather than scrolling pages; 2. Use the View menu at the top of the screen and select the option (ticked) "Fit Width" to view the page as wide as possible - you can hide the Outline/Navigation section if you want the maximum screen space for reading, and then 3. On the View menu, select the option, Upper Toolstrip and make sure the only items that are ticked are: Navigation, and Text Search, and no others. This should ensure the upper toolstrip fits easily on your screen - then use the mouse or the page navigation to scroll through pages or the outline tree and search facilities. To scroll down a page use the grey scroll bar on the right hand side of the page.