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Adobe to Standardize PDF

According to the press release, it sounds like Adobe will submit their PDF 1.7 specification to AIIM, where it will be reviewed and refined before submission to ISO, likely to TC 171 . AIIM, if the name isn’t familiar to you, is the Association for Information and Image Management. They have been around since 1943, and they have a thriving ANSI-accredited standards program.

Note that this is not PDF’s first trip to ISO. Subsets of PDF have been standardized for particular problem domains, such as:

  • PDF/A for archiving as ISO 19005-1:2005
  • PDF/X for digital prepress exchange as ISO 15930
  • PDF/E for engineering workflows, currently under review ISO DIS 24517

But now we’ll be getting the full PDF functionality as an International Standard. This is good news. I’m pleased to see Adobe’s continuing leadership in this area. For more information on this topic, now and in the future, I recommend adding Adobe’s Duane Nickull to your regular cycle of blog reading.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Anonymous 2007/01/30, 08:37

    Interesting you are applauding Adobe. What are they doing that is different than Microsoft?

    One of the biggest criticisms of OOXML is that it is merely an XML representation of Office binary file formats. Microsoft is, in essence, standardizing its propriety formats.

    Yet PDF *is* a proprietary format. It derives from PostScript, which Adobe has had years to work on. It as also complex. In short, you could say that PDF, like OOXML, is a format that nobody aside from its creator could faithfully render.

  • Rob 2007/01/30, 08:59

    Sure, you could say that. But you would be wrong.

    There are plenty of non-Adobe applications out there that create or render PDF, and these are available on many platforms, proprietary as well as open source.

    Also, as I noted, several subsets of PDF, adapted for specific domains, have already been standardized for ISO. So having the full PDF specification as an ISO standard would complement the existing standards nicely.

  • Anonymous 2007/01/31, 07:26

    Could you provide an example of a non-Adobe program that renders PDF files correctly 100% of the time? By that, I mean with ALL features–forms, encrytion/DRM, scripting, etc.

    I have never seen such a program.

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