How do we gain insight into how users’ views of documents are shifting? Google Trends is an increasingly interesting source of high-level marketplace data. By aggregating Google’s search data over time, reporting a term’s popularity as compared with all other searches.Participating in the PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit
The PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit’s objective is to establish a broad-based understanding of how PDF files should be tagged for accessibilty. It’s an opportunity to focus on establishing a common set of examples of accessible PDF content, and identify best-practice when tagging difficult cases.Members supporting PDF features!
The typical adoption curve for PDF technologies until approximately 2007 tended to track with that of the original PDF developer. Since then the marketplace has shifted; it’s no longer clear that Adobe drivesPDF feature support worldwide. Accordingly, we are happy to report that adoption of PDF 2.0 continues apace, with new vendors announcing their support every month.Modernizing PDF Techniques for Accessibility
The PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit will identify best-practices in tagging various cases in PDF documents. Questions to be addressed will likely include: the legal ways to tag a nested list, the correct way to caption multiple images, the appropriate way to organize content within headings.Refried PDF
My hospital emailed me a medical records release form as a PDF. They told me to print it, fill it, sign it, scan it and return it to the medical records department, in that order. In 2018? To get the form via email (i.e., electronically), yet be asked to print it? Did the last 20 years just… not mean anything! So I thought I’d be clever. I’d fill it first, THEN print it. Or better yet, never print it, but sign it anyhow, and return it along with a note making the case for improving their workflow. The story continues…
Adobe Systems created and curated the PDF Reference, the document that defines the PDF format, from 1993-2007. In July of 2008 the committee ISO created to publish the PDF specification delivered ISO 32000-1.
While there were some changes, mostly pertaining to adaption to ISO standard language, it was generally agreed that ISO 32000-1 was technically equivalent to the last Adobe edition.
From that point forward, it has been the responsibility of TC 171 SC 2 Working Group 8 to develop ISO 32000-2; the first truly post Adobe PDF.
Finally, were almost there. PDF 2.0 should be finalized in the first half of 2016, and published shortly thereafter.
PDF today is already a mature, broadly supported and universally accepted electronic document format at version 1.7, just as Adobe left it in 2008. In fact, many (or even most) PDF files use even earlier PDF specifications such as 1.4 (2001) with no ill-effect. Why, then, does the world need PDF 2.0?
For those who invest in PDF technology, there are three fundamental reasons to start planning for PDF 2.0:
To put it simply: PDF 2.0 will make it easier for developers to create tools to manage electronic documents with more and better features at a reduced cost.
For organizations that procure PDF technology PDF 2.0 makes it easier to insist that vendors are delivering the highest-quality, most accessible and most capable PDF technology solutions available.
The development of PDF 2.0 began in earnest in 2009 as stakeholders began to consider what mattered, and what they might want to achieve in a post-Adobe PDF. Portable Document Format technology is used in many ways, with extraordinarily diverse applications in hundreds of industries, so gathering relevant opinions from many places was key.
In keeping with the ISO development process, the working group has systematically addressed every issue raised by members, from strategic questions to questionable text formatting, through a series of biannual meetings. Most issues are resolved by consensus, some after more or less wrangling over words. A few issues must go to a vote, where (as is normal) some win and other lose. Everyone on the committee gets the same vote.
The committee has processed at least 5,000 comments since 2008, including complete reorganization of several major clauses; about 15% of the 979 page document.
So whats coming in PDF 2.0? With the caveat that the standard is almost, but not 100% complete, we can reliably foresee the major areas of change.
PDF is complex, and extremely flexible at a very low level. Most of the work thats gone into the document is to clarify and correct the existing text. PDF 2.0 resolves many longstanding ambiguities, updates to external references and generally provides a tighter set of rules to enhance and ease interoperability.
As a result, all those who read it and express their view say the same thing: the text of PDF 2.0 is significantly clearer and more consistent in terms of describing the various features, requirements and considerations in PDF technology. Once PDF 2.0 is published its reasonable to predict an immediate benefit in terms of training developers to write PDF software, add support for PDF features, and more.
The PDF 1.7 idea of a “conforming writer” or “conforming reader” is replaced, in general with file-format requirements where possible. PDF 2.0 is careful to allow maximum scope to PDF processors in general, but in general, expresses its requirements in terms of valid relationships within the PDF rather than in terms of any given actions of a processor.
This makes PDF more technically neutral, and helps ensure that requirements, even if complex, are all “out in the open” and not tucked away inside Adobe’s implementations.
There are far too many changes to list here, but we can mention the highlights:
In addition, large sections of the specification have been completely rewritten and reorganized, including:
See a PDF Association presentation introducing PDF 2.0 recorded in 2013.
This coming October the PDF Associations PDF Technical Conference 2015 will explore the galaxy of PDF functionality, including the new features and significance of PDF 2.0. Join us, October 19-20, in San Jose.