I recently returned from 4 days in Orlando, Florida, where committees of the International Standards Organization (ISO) met to discuss, among other things, the future and direction of the PDF format (ISO 32000) and various subset PDF standards, including PDF/A (Archive), PDF/E (Engineering) and PDF/UA (Universal Accessibility).
PDF Standards set technical benchmarks for PDF technology implementations. As an interested party (in addition to serving as CEO of Appligent Document Solutions, I chair the US Committee for PDF/UA and serve as vice-chair for the US Committee for PDF), I’m happy to report that the meetings proceeded in good humor and goodwill. We got a LOT done, addressing hundreds of comments from around the world, and moving the documents forwards in the process.
Some have wondered whether standards for PDF are merely a vehicle for Adobe to extend its dominance of the PDF space on others while benefiting from the public-relations aspect of standardization. The reality is otherwise. The Orlando meetings proceeded as ISO intends that they should; as a gathering of experts ready, willing and able to discuss and agree on ensuring that the technical specifications and rules for PDF are as clear and unambiguous as possible to accommodate any interested developers. Adobe got some of the things they wanted; they got some things they didn’t want as well.
What got done? We approved a Committee Draft for 32000-2, with the goal of making it to Draft International Standard by the end of 2010. From the PDF/UA perspective: in Orlando, the committee for 32000 agreed to all of the US PDF/UA Committee’s requests for changes to PDF itself. The ISO/AWI 14289 Committee approved work towards a CD ballot to be issued early next year, with the goal of seeing PDF/UA go to Draft International Standard status in June, 2010 when the PDF Standards committees meet again in Paris, France.
by Duff Johnson