It’s a question that vexes vendors of web-based solutions everywhere: why do people still insist on PDF files? And why does PDF’s mindshare keep going up? “PDF is such antediluvian technology!” they say. “It’s pre-web, are you kidding me? It’s so old-f …PDF Association technical resources: an overview
PDF is PDF because files produced with one vendor’s software can be read using a different vendor’s software with no loss of fidelity. Interoperability is key to our industry. The PDF Association is a international membership organization dedicated to …2022: The last year of paper for records-keeping
NARA (The National Archives and Records Administration) is the final depository for the long-term records generated by all other agencies of the U.S. Federal Government. The agency has a key role in preserving the cultural history of the republic as we …PDF 2.0 examples now available
The PDF Association is proud to present the first PDF 2.0 example files made available to the public. Created and donated to the PDF Association by Datalogics, this initial set of PDF 2.0 examples were crafted by hand and intentionally made simple in construction to serve as teaching tools for learning PDF file structure and syntax.PDF 2.0 interops help vendors
The PDF 2.0 interop workshops included many vendors with products for creating, editing and processing PDF files. They came together in Boston, Massachusetts for a couple of days to test their own software against 3rd party files.
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.