From the Seattle Technical Conference

20 Years of PDFIn August the PDF Association held its second major event of 2013 and the first-ever Technical Conference dedicated to PDF technology in North America.

In the electronic document technology world, there’s no other technical education event like it. Dedicated to developers working with PDF technology, PDF Association Technical Conferences address questions from alpha to z-order, and everything in-between.

Over August 14-15, 2013, 60 PDF developers met at Adobe Systems’ Seattle campus for two tracks and two days of intensive PDF technical education sessions.

More from the Technical Conference.

PDF Association Vice Chairman Duff Johnson and Adobe Systems’ Nora Calvillo, representing Adobe on the Board of the PDF Association, welcomed the attendees and detailed the sessions to follow.

Bruno makes his point!The conference kicked off with a fast-paced set of mini-presentations, each limited to 7 minutes introducing a single ISO Standard for PDF technology, summarizing its purpose, status and future development.

Following the opening session Track A focused on PDF in the mobile and interactive contexts, with presentations from PDFTron, WindJack Solutions, AdLib and others.  Track B took a deep-dive into accessibility, repurposing and the new ISO standard for accessible PDF: PDF/UA, with presentations from Apago, callas and Adobe. The accessibility track finished the day with NV Access’s Jamie Curran, developer of the open-source NVDA screen reader, presenting live from Australia.

Microsoft’s Jim Thatcher, who leads the effort to standardize JavaScript for PDF, delivered a proposal for an unencrypted PDF Wrapper format to better enable the use of PDF files as freely-openable container vehicles for encrypted content.

Cruise on Seattle's lakes.Following the close of the conference’s first day the speakers and attendees boarded buses for a short ride to a nearby marina. For the next three hours we cruised Seattle’s lakes with spectacular views of the city and sunset.

The second day of the Technical Conference opened with a very special Keynote presentation by Adobe’s Senior Vice-President Bob Wulff, manager of Acrobat engineering from Acrobat 1.0 through Acrobat 9.0.

Bob Wulff's keynote session.With photos, handwritten notes and promotional materials from the early 1990s, Bob revealed many inside details and anecdotes from the early history of Acrobat and PDF. More fascinating still was his insight into how the original vision became an operational reality, a successful product… and then a very successful product.

After Bob’s exciting keynote the rest of Day 2 was devoted to more education. This time Track A attended to PDF creation, with tips from ActivePDF, Datalogics and Luratech while Duff Johnson proposed an open-source industry-wide validation model. In Track B the focus was on PDF/A, and included iText’s Bruno Lowagie and intarsys’ digital signatures expert Bernd Wild discussing both high-level and deep-technical aspects of PDF digital signatures, especially interesting in the PDF/A context.

PDF 2.0 Panel Discussion.In the final session the Conference attendees came back together for a panel discussion on PDF 2.0 and the future of the Portable Document Format.

Feedback thus far has been very positive, with many attendees praising both the quality of the sessions and the value of the networking opportunities.

Several attendees said they wanted to see a PDF education event on the east coast. This idea is now under active development; thanks for your feedback!

NOTE: Recordings and presentation files for the Technical Conference presentations are available to PDF Association members on the PDF Association Intranet. Most (but not all) of these recordings will be made available to the public over time.

 

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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