Believe it or not this Compozition started in a sauna!
The conversation below lead to a brilliant solution to the problem of how to distribute a linked bundle of related documents that could be guaranteed to work across a range of devices.
Here in South Africa, we have a system of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) which has certain regulatory processes and requirements. One of these requirements, is to submit a forest of paper to the BEE regulator for approval. The difficulties associated with delivering these documents to the regulator is the issue here.
I knew nothing about BEE or its difficulties until I shared a sauna with a friend who works in that industry. No surprise, it turned out that BEE was making him unhappy. He was gnashing his teeth about his difficulties getting the BEE reports he drew up for his clients approved at the regulator’s offices.
His main issue was delivery and accessibility.
His standard BEE report comprised of 30 or more files in a carefully designed folder structure, which needed to be replicated on some official’s computer. It had to be deep linked with a navigable table of contents. The simpler to deploy and use, the more likely it was that an official could appraise and approve the report. Any failure that prevented an official from completing the work was met with an email flood that would ebb for weeks before resolution, after which work would resume.
Unfortunately, over many years my BEE sauna companion had never managed to get the process right.
‘I tried mailing the documents but the mail system couldn’t handle the size. So, I resorted to sending an email per section. This failed miserably,’ he said, ‘there were always problems reassembling the original report structure.’
‘In desperation is tried DropBox and dropped the entire report, folders and files, into a folder, which I shared with them.’
The DropBox solution helped, but he still would get a number of communications from the department asking for files that were there but were difficult to locate.
‘I wish I could send the whole shebang as a single PDF with bookmarks, so that even a primary school student could see the whole table of contents and click away through the document.’
Which is where I came in and introduced him to compoZr.
I explained that Compozr would create a PDF that would be a duplicate of his folder structure, documents and links. It would also have a cover page and a clickable table of contents.
And instead of going into too much detail, I said send me a link to the DropBox folder.
Which he did.
The next day I downloaded his files, zipped them and loaded the zip into Compozr. I then sent him the final PDF and waited for his response.
‘This Compozr thing is amazing!’ Was his comment the next day.