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PDF Association

Mission Statement: To promote Open Standards-based electronic document implementations using PDF technology through education, expertise and shared experience for stakeholders worldwide.
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Talking about electronic documents

We’ve done PDF Day events and technical conferences across Europe, in the US, in Australia, and elsewhere. This Electronic Document Conference is the first PDF Association event that’s open to all technologies pertaining to documents. It’s about explor …

Happy new logo!

2006: The PDF/A Competence Center A new year brings new things, and 2019 is no exception! The “four red blocks” logo was first created for the PDF/A Competence Center in 2006. When that organization became the PDF Association in 2011, the design was ad …

Save-The-Date: PDF Day France, Toulouse, April 4, 2019

PDF Day France will be the first French-speaking event of the PDF Association, organised by our member ORPALIS. It will take place in Toulouse which is the home ground of Airbus and we are very happy that Airbus will present a case study around its usage of PDF in their document management environment!

Electronic Document Conference: Call for Papers

Prospective presenters at the Electronic Document Conference 2019 are invited to submit high-quality original proposals for 25-minute presentations on subjects of interest to developers and technical product managers concerned with electronic document implementations.

Have we passed ‘peak PDF’?

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.

Members supporting PDF features!

Screenshot of features listing.New ISO standards for software can take a long time to enter the marketplace in the form of updated tools with new features.

The reason, at least in the case of PDF, is straight-forward. PDF is a sharing technology, designed to allow for the reliable, accurate and efficient communication of an author’s intent. A single developer takes a significant risk when they invest in a new PDF specification without clear knowledge that others are doing likewise.

A viewer developer, for example, needs the marketplace to supply authors with creation software that supports the feature, else their viewer’s support will be irrelevant.

A creator developer, however, needs viewer (or other consumer software) developers to support the feature, else the new features will go unused and customers won’t care.

For this reason, the typical adoption curve for PDF technologies until approximately 2007 tended to track with that of the original PDF developer; Adobe. Since PDF became an ISO standard, however, the marketplace has shifted substantially, and it’s no longer clear that Adobe drives forward motion on PDF feature support worldwide.

What are the key marketplace shifts since 2007? There are several:

  • Browsers took over PDF viewing from desktop software
  • Mobile device use now equals (or exceeds) the desktop, and mobile device capabilities have improved dramatically
  • Authoring (Office 365, Google Docs, WordPress, etc.) is increasingly online
  • Cloud storage now holds and shares vast repositories of files that used to be held locally
  • Web technology drives ever-richer experiences

All of this might seem to be a major challenge to a technology like PDF that’s rooted in a fixed-format page-description model. And yet… the web still hasn’t accommodated the reality that when users seek ground truth they value renderings.

“We still live in a world where end users take screen-shots to record a web page. In such a world there’s a lot of room for PDF to grow.”
Duff Johnson, PDF Association Executive Director

Google search results for "PDF 2.0".Accordingly, the PDF Association is happy to report that adoption of PDF 2.0, the new ISO standard published in 2017, is well-advanced, with more vendors announcing support every month.

We’ve previously reported on PDF 2.0 adoption, including by Adobe Systems. More recently, the PDF Association decided to celebrate its members who have stepped up to provide support for latest-generation PDF technology.

The first three such feature support pages have now been posted, for PDF 2.0, PDF/UA and for service-providers supporting PDF/UA.

Over time, we look forward to adding more companies and products to these pages as our members continue to add support for the latest version of the world’s chosen electronic document format and its subset specifications.

Check out the latest feature support pages today!

Categories: PDF 2.0, Standards adoption, Technology