ISO Standards: Update from Bellevue

Image of the Committee table.Hosted by Microsoft in their Bravern facility in Bellevue, Washington, the twice-annual PDF Standards Week for the winter of 2011-2012 was during the first week of December, 2011. Over that week the various committees clawed their way through hundreds of technical and editorial comments on four different standards from dozens of organizations across the world. Present in Bellevue to conduct the meetings were delegates from Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, South Africa, the UK and the US.

Everyone enjoyed the local hospitality, especially our warm welcome from Microsoft, who gave us both a visit to the Microsoft Employee Store complete with gift voucher and a full scale Rodízio feast, an event that threatens to become a PDF Week tradition.

The following represents a quick summary of the other-than-culinary developments in Bellevue.

PDF/A (Archive) – ISO 19005

The Committee for PDF/A addressed the comments received on the first DIS (Draft International Standard) ballot for 19005-3 and normative work on part 3 of ISO 19005. The document will proceed to a two-month DIS ballot in early 2012. PDF/A-3 addresses several key use-cases, and like PDF/A-2, it in no way conflicts or interferes with other parts of PDF/A.

PDF/E (Engineering) – ISO 24517

The ISO 24517 Committee reviewed comments on a Committee Draft for part 2 of the PDF/E standard. A new 3 month Committee Draft ballot will be issued shortly. One notable development was the decision to initiate an ad hoc committee to work on converting the Adobe Acrobat 3D JavaScript Reference, Version 9.1 into ISO format.

PDF/UA (Universal Accessibility) – ISO 14289

The PDF/UA, in development since 2004, is now final! The International Committee for ISO 14289 addressed each of the comments received and asked the Project Leader to submit the result for a two month Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) ballot. Assuming the ballot’s result is positive, we will see PDF/UA-1 published in 2012. Developers will at last be provided with a clear, demonstrable model for understanding accessibility requirements such as WCAG 2.0 in PDF.

PDF – ISO 32000

Olaf Drümmer, Ferass ElRayes and others from the ISO 14289 Committee.PDF itself is managed by the ISO 32000 committee. This organization is now most of the way through the first update to the venerable electronic document format since Adobe Systems gave PDF to the ISO in 2008. With ISO 32000-2, PDF will move from 1.7 to version 2.0.

In Bellevue, the ISO 32000 Committee worked long and hard to address the 185 technical and editorial comments received from developers around the world since reviewing the previous draft in Salt Lake City, in Mary 2011. By both number and degree, the new set of comments are substantial. A wide range of additional subcommittee work is to be acted on, including new text written, in short order. The new project co-leaders Duff Johnson of NetCentric and Cherie Ekholm of Microsoft, had (and have) their work cut out for them.

Among other outcomes from Bellevue, the ISO 32000 Committee formed a wide array of ad hoc subcommittees to explore a series of directions called for, the Committee felt, by a number of comments that could not be fully engaged by the full ISO Committee itself in the time available.

Ad hoc committees for ISO 32000 were established in the following areas:

  • To draft a mechanism for navigation by logical structure. (Matthew Hardy, chair)
  • To study color consistency for Separation and DeviceN colour spaces. (Peter Wyatt, chair)
  • To develop a file format syntax for validating PDF files.  (Leonard Rosenthol, chair)
  • To develop a model for rendering validation of PDF files. (Peter Wyatt, chair)
  • To explore tagged PDF and MathML for PDF files. (Matthew Hardy, Cherie Ekholm, co-chairs)
  • To re-evaluate Annex C. (Peter Wyatt, chair)
  • To study the archival of dynamic PDF features. (Leonard Rosenthol, chair)
  • To study inclusion of selections from the Acrobat JavaScript Reference in ISO 3200. (Jim Thatcher, chair)

The Committee also asked Japanese delegate Nobuaki Usui to prepare a draft technical report explaining the relationship of the PDF Standards.

Members of the ISO 32000 committee hard at work in Bellevue.

Where do these Standards originate?

International Standards are created, developed and managed by committees made up of industry experts. Their time is volunteered by their respective companies for the purpose.

Each Committee manages a set of norms (a “Standard”) defined so as to encompass a large-scale business objective – “archive”, “engineering” and “accessibility” to name three.

Conformance with standards means that each vendor’s products and services can interoperate reliably with others. All users benefit with improved quality, reliability and functionality.

To get directly involved in the development of International Standards for PDF, contact Betsy Fanning, Standards Director at AIIM, the organization accredited by ANSI to manage standards development in this area.  Members of the PDF Association can also get help from the Board, or their chapter chairs.

About PDF Association

Founded in 2006 as the PDF/A Competence Center, the PDF Association exists to promote the adoption and implementation of International Standards for PDF technology.

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