I have a page where users will download pdf statements. Historically they must download them one at a time and this is a point of frustration. I'd like to offer a bulk download option. My first thought was to bundle the pdfs as a .zip file, but the client is adamant that their users won't be able to navigate a .zip file. Trying to think of other ideas of how I could potentially handle this.
You could offer a tiny downloader app like the ones you get when you download apps from a website such as softonic or google (chrome installer) that essentially pulls rest of the stuff from the Internet. My University provides a huge amount of materials online and there is this small application that downloads all those updates and feeds from their servers.
Another idea would be to provide a pdf reader web-app embodied within the page. This would allow them to navigate quite easily within the site and bookmark them as they go. Offline data saving could make the process much more smooth.
Since they are all PDF's I would combine the PDF's on the server and have them download one PDF. Any other way you go is just going to have some layer of complexity, which seems to be what you are trying to avoid.
Sure, there are some valid reasons why putting them all in one isn't a good idea, but there is no best answer.
What about… HTML pages ? You know, these things that can be opened directly in the browser…
Another idea is to generate a composite PDF file containing all the statements, neatly separated.
There are a few options.
- You can have a guide explaining how to download an HTML file from the browser which includes images and all related files. Basically a manual for the "save as HTML" option of the browser.
- You can offer them in word 2007 using, for instance PHP.
- You can offer them in odt using, for instance, PHP.
- If you have a license, you can offer .chm
- Of course you can offer them in .pdf
You can use a self-extracting zip, which then will be an .exe. This method can be combined with any other one to provide a self-extracting bunch of files. Self-extracting has the problem of being platform dependent, so the most effective option would be to have a self-extracting file for each platform.
You can offer them in a compressed, non self-extracting file, like .zip, .tar, .rar, etc.
You can offer them in a single, yearly .pdf.
Combination of both options
You can offer the individual files plus one contining all the statements. Or if all the transactions is too much, a year of statements. That way, the user can decide what he wants.
The best option for the user, is to have single files, but the best option for the company, is to have only one. So trying to combine the best of both requirements, is the best option. If you can't have both, offer single downloads. Also, some times, the user may be more interested on having only one large file with all the year information so he can search for items more quickly. I'd be more interested on having the current year by month but past years on a single file.
In any case, there has to be a detailed explanation of what is going to be downloaded, and how to use it, doesn't matter if it is a .pdf, a compressed file or a self extracting one.