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:
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
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.
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!
The staff of the PDF Association are dedicated to delivering the information, services and value the members have come to expect. Staff members of the PDF Association include: Alexandra Oettler (Editor) Betsy Fanning (Standards Director) Duff Johnson (Chief Executive Officer) Matthias Wagner (Operations Director) Nicole Gauger (Editor) Peter Wyatt (Chief Technology Officer) Thomas Zellmann (PDF Evangelist)