I’ve been working with PDF for more than ten years on what I’ve often had occasion to think of as rather the sharper end of the stick. Since Acrobat 2.01, each time Adobe Systems or 3rd party developers came out with new PDF software, I was there to try to find a way to put it to use.
I got started with PDF and Acrobat for what I like to think of now as the best of reasons. My company, Document Solutions, Inc., was freshly minted to sell electronic document research tools to political campaigns (that’s another story), and wasn’t exactly awash in business. At the time, PDF was a newcomer, mainly focused on print-publishing, and only just beginning to spread its wings.
In March, 1996, we identified PDF as the technology of choice for the solutions we wanted to build… all we needed were some customers! Fortunately for us, the more we studied PDF, the more we knew that we had at our fingertips an extraordinary technology for electronic documents. We listened to our clients, translated their needs into features we could implement with PDF, and it was good.
Today, I marvel at three things:
- The world is awash in PDF. The technology is so important, even Microsoft wants to give it away for free.
- Adobe hasn’t (yet) screwed PDF up. The technology still retains all the power of the original vision, and has grown steadily more potent, sophisticated and subtle with each major revision, with relatively minor deviations from the path of progress.
- The fact that compared to HTML, XML, etc., PDF is typically woefully underutilized and poorly implemented. Most PDF files are under-performing in their applications and frustrating users. Don’t ever send me a PDF form to fill out if it doesn’t already have form-fields!
In this Blog, I’m going to try to offer tips, comments, suggestions, complaints, praise, interesting links, etc. That’s probably your minimum expectation. What I’m also going to try to offer, time and mental bandwidth permitting, is some of the perspective I’ve gained watching this industry grow.
Please let me know if you have any comments about this blog. I look forward to hearing from you.