It’s hard to imagine any single item that could please a web developer, an IT infrastructure manager, and an end user all at once. Ice cream or a good joke excepted, anything that makes one of these people happy usually makes at least one of the others miserable.
Tighten security to please the infrastructure maven, and you’ve made extra work for the developer and possibly compromised the user’s experience. Amp up the user experience and you’ve created bandwidth problems for the infrastructure maven and, again, more work for the web developer. (Everything makes more work for the web developer.)
The magnificent, often unrealized potential of the Cloud is that it can solve some problems in ways that make life at least a little easier for all parties. This small miracle happens most often when the problem is small (though nagging nonetheless) and the cloud solution is narrowly scoped to solve that problem and no other.
A cloud-based document viewer that can be embedded in a web page supplies an ideal example. Given a large and growing array of document file types and an imperative to make everything and anything web-accessible, developers wanting to deliver a seamless user experience have no easy solution. They cannot entirely count on users to have software installed that can display anything other than HTML, flat text and a handful of other file types.
Developers can simply require that any document for web publication not already stored in a common format be converted — at the cost of time (compounded by every subsequent change to the document), software licensing and often display quality. Or they can compromise the user experience by publishing files in their native formats and leaving the user to scramble for a program to display them.
A cloud-based document viewer capable of displaying pretty much any document file type in a browser — with nothing required on the client except a browser with Flash or HTML5 — provides users with seamless access to nearly any document in high fidelity, makes little extra coding work for the developer (while erasing other tasks, such as conversion), and takes the infrastructure manager out of the picture altogether. If that solution is free, even more people get happy, like purchasing managers and CIOs.
The wide range of ways one cloud-based viewer is being used illustrates its versatility. One customer uses it to show visitors very large CAD files, while another uses it to display the documents forum users have attached to their messages. A website for a program to curb childhood obesity uses it to display Powerpoint slides of active kids, and a job portal uses it to display uploaded resumes to recruiters.
Those customers are all using Prizm Cloud, Accusoft’s freshly released, cloud-based, embeddable document viewer. It’s not the only such viewer available, but it offers some advantages over the other options. Because it is based on the versatile Prizm Content Connect server-based viewer, it inherits that product’s ability to display more than 300 different file types — far more than competitors — to ensure that users will be able to see almost any document a site can throw at them. And unlike competitors, it does not require that the documents be uploaded anyplace first — the viewer displays them right from the developer’s server, saving the time and trouble of uploading and making any changes to the file immediately available to anyone.
It’s easy to use for web developers — so easy, in fact, that it’s also used by bloggers, WordPress site creators, and other less-technical users. After all, if a thing can make web developers, infrastructure managers and users happy all at once, who can guess how many other people the thing might please?