Caveat Lector

Acrobat Shared Reviews & webdav

Acrobat makes reviewing really easy. You can let Acrobat set up and manage reviews. There are two types of reviews: e-mail and Shared.

E-mail reviews are typically off-line and manual, where you email the document to the reviewers and they can add annotations and then send them back to you. After receiving all the replies, you collate all the responses.

Shared reviews let everyone work on the file at the same time. If reviewers can connect to the review server, all comments are available real-time. (If reviewers are off-line, they can sync the comments next time they cone online). The core of a shared review, is what i call — for the lack of another name — the review server. You can use as a review server; it’s as easy as that. Acrobat and manage everything for you. Or you could set up your own internal review server. This is what all this fuss is all about!

The internal Review Server is basically a WebDAV server. When your reviewers open the document, Acrobat/Reader try to connect to this WebDAV server and read/write comments to this server.

Install a web server

The following instructions will let you set up a WebDAV server using Apache. I’ll use a package called XAMPP, which is an integrated Apache, MySQL, & PHP bundle. {The other components might come in handy if you want to build applications for reporting, auto-reminders etc}. Ok, so lets get our hands dirty.

  1. Download XAMPP from  Friends of Apache website.
  2. Follow the instructions and install. After the install, start Apache and verify that the server is running successfully.
  3. The default passwords are located in the file passwords.txt located at <install dir>. You’ll need these later.
  4. You should read the XAMPP documentation and and configure the server as required. But you can do this later.

Enable WebDAV

XAMPP comes with a default webdav module; it is enabled by default.

Open a browser and type http://localhost/webdav. If you don’t get any errors, skip this section. If you still want to know, how to do it, read on:

  1. Navigate to  the file <install-directory>/xampp/apache/conf/httpd.conf and open it.
  2. Ensure that the line Include “conf/extra/httpd-dav.conf” is uncommented. (does not have a # preceding it)
  3. Restart/start Apache.
  4. Verify: Open a browser and open http://localhost/webdav. A default page should open.

Checkpoint: Set up a review on WebDAV folder

By default, XAMPP/Apache do not give rights to everyone to write to the WebDAV folder. If you try set up a review, an authentication dialog box will pop up.

WebDAV authorization box when you try and set up a review

WebDAV authorization box when you try and set up a review

The same box will also pop-up everytime your reviewers try to connect to the review server. In this scenario, you’ll need to create/distribute Username and Passwords. If this is good for you, you can stop here.

Grant Universal Write Access to webdav

When most of your users are inside a firewall, and Acrobat/Reader already make it easy to identify users, this server authorization can be very cumbersome. This happens because in the default configuration, universal read access is provided, but write access is restricted to authorized users.

So lets grant write access to everyone.

  1. Open the file <install dir>\xampp\apache\conf\extra\httpd-dav.conf.
  2. Locate the following text, and comment it out. That is add the # marks before it.
    #<LimitExcept GET OPTIONS>

    #require valid-user

  3. Save the file and restart Apache.

All Set

You should be all set to go now. Your internal server is setup to handle reviews. Go ahead and set up reviews on your own internal server.

What Next?

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Coming Soon: Acrobat X

Adobe announced the next generation of your favorite software.

Some New Acrobat X Features

  • Automate multi-step tasks with new Actions Wizard and easily share them with coworkers and collaborators.
  • PDF Portfolios using new layouts, visual themes and color palettes.
  • Microsoft SharePoint integration. Check-in, check-out PDF files for reviewing and editing shared documents, using both Acrobat and the free Reader X.
  • Updated User Interface to organize the most used tools in one place

New in Adobe Reader X

  • Comment with Sticky Notes and Highlighter tools available to all users.
  • Protected Mode to for secure experience.

Ten cool features of Acrobat X Pro

See what PDF Portfolios, guided Actions, and SharePoint integration can do for you.

Quick Tweets, Big Prize!

An opportunity for you to win the full license copy of Adobe Technical Communication Suite 2.5!

Here’s how:

  1. Log on to your Twitter account (if you don’t have one, create one in a jiffy, and it’s free).
  2. Send prize-worthy tweets with hashtags #tcscontest #stcindia:
  • Best practices for FrameMaker 9, RoboHelp 8, and TCS 2.x
  • Top reasons to buy or upgrade to FrameMaker 9, RoboHelp 8, and TCS 2.x

The contest closes at 4 PM on November 12, 2010. Keep tweeting till then.

What/who is prize-worthy:

  • The best tweet – Decided by judges at Adobe
  • Most popular tweet – The most retweeted best practice or buy/upgrade reason
  • Most prolific tweeter – The person with the maximum number of valid tweets

The results will be announced at the STC-India conference in New Delhi on 13 Nov, and the prizes will be awarded to the winner(s) by Naresh Gupta, MD, Adobe India.

You can always contact me @vikrantrai