Track changes screen shot

Reporting issues in the PDF 2.0 specification

Duff Johnson, Peter Wyatt // January 8, 2021

PDF 2.0 Announcement

As we recently announced, the latest edition of PDF 2.0 (ISO 32000-2:2020) was published by ISO in December, 2020. The latest edition of PDF 2.0 replaces the 2017 edition and includes a number of minor features and critical updates to normative references in addition to other corrections and clarifications.

Like any 1000-page technical document there are bound to be typos, mistakes, omissions, and ambiguities.  Although many subject matter experts reviewed this document during its 3 years of development, fresh eyes and active implementation may well identify new issues. To support industry adoption of PDF 2.0, the PDF ISO 32000 Project Leaders (Duff Johnson and Peter Wyatt), working through the PDF Association, have established a public “pdf-issues” GitHub repository for reporting any and all issues against ISO 32000-2:2020.

An accurate and clearly understandable PDF specification helps the entire PDF ecosystem and enhances interoperability. Consequently, every detail in the PDF specification matters; from spelling and grammar, to minor typos and formatting issues through to more significant ambiguous, vague or apparently contradictory statements:

  • What might seem like a minor formatting mistake can actually communicate important information such as whether the text represents a key, a key value or a reserved PDF keyword;
  • Improved cross-referencing to other clauses, tables, figures or external references can highlight otherwise obscure but important requirements, and assist users in locating all relevant information;
  • Descriptions of data may miss critical information such as the range of valid values;
  • A choice of word may imply nuances that would be better stated explicitly, especially for non-native English speakers.

GitHub markThe issues that will be tracked by this GitHub repo address only ISO 32000-2:2020 - the latest PDF 2.0 file format specification document. It is entirely vendor- and implementation-agnostic and doesn’t address software bugs whatsoever. The starting point for any new issue should be the text from the 2020 edition of the PDF 2.0 specification; older versions of PDF are not in scope.

A new GitHub Issue can be created by anyone with a free GitHub login. Once reported, it can be openly commented on and critiqued by everyone using the GitHub collaboration platform. Once general agreement is reached, each issue will be moderated by the ISO 32000 Project Leaders and presented at the next occurring PDF Association PDF Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting. This forum, composed of recognized industry and ISO experts, will then formalize an industry consensus for publication via a new PDF Association resource. If you are not yet a member of the PDF Association and would like to join this forum, please learn more about membership.

This process provides PDF developers everywhere with ongoing and timely guidance on all previously resolved issues identified in ISO 32000-2:2020, as well as visibility into the list of currently unresolved issues, ensuring maximum transparency and interoperability of PDF technology.

It should be noted that resolutions resulting from this process are not authorized by the ISO working group responsible for PDF (ISO TC 171 SC 2 WG 8) and may be changed in future ISO 32000 publications. As the next ISO 32000 publication is currently undecided, this process will actively help everyone using PDF 2.0 technology by providing timely industry-supported resolutions in the interim. The PDF Association holds the committee management role of ISO TC 171 SC 2, so everyone can be assured that all industry-supported resolutions will flow into the respective ISO working group process at the first opportunity.

We look forward to collaboratively improving ISO 32000-2:2020 with the entire PDF community. A number of Issues are already logged; please join the discussion today!


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Duff Johnson
Duff Johnson

Duff serves the PDF industry as ISO Project co-Leader and US TAG chair for both ISO 32000 (the PDF specification) and ISO 14289 (PDF/UA). As Executive Director of the PDF Association, Duff coordinates several working groups, speaks at a wide variety of industry events and promotes the advancement and adoption of PDF technology worldwide. An independent consultant, Duff Johnson is a veteran …


Peter Wyatt
Peter Wyatt

Peter Wyatt is the PDF Association’s CTO and an independent technology consultant with deep file format and parsing expertise, who is a developer and researcher actively working on PDF technologies for more than 20 years. He is Project co-Leader of ISO 32000 (the core PDF standard), co-Chairs the PDF Association PDF TWG and is the PDF Association’s Principal Scientist leading …

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Duff Johnson

Duff Johnson

Duff serves the PDF industry as ISO Project co-Leader and US TAG chair for both ISO 32000 (the PDF specification) and …


Peter Wyatt

Peter Wyatt

Peter Wyatt is the PDF Association’s CTO and an independent technology consultant with deep file format and parsing expertise, who …