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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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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.

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.

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…

Slides and video recordings of PDF Days Europe 2018

You missed the PDF Days Europe 2018? Never mind! Here you can find the slides and video recordings of all 32 stunning sessions!

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