Our applications work harder they used to, and some of our customers have noticed. Appligent Document Solutions server applications now sport:
- Better recovery when encountering malformed PDFs.
- Resource consolidation and optimization, and accompanying file size reductions.
- Conformance with international standards.
In certain circumstances Appligent Document Solutions applications can run somewhat slower than previous versions. This article explains our rationale in creating our next-generation software and explains why we decided that speed would take a back seat to quality, reliability and capability.
First, our software is still among the fastest available. Previous builds of Appligent Document Solutions software have been variously reported to us as 5-200 times faster than competing software. Our current-generation software, now powered by Adobe’s PDF Library, is almost as fast as the previous generation, especially on larger documents.
The speed difference between older and newer versions is due to the time required to load the application into memory and then initialize the libraries. In addition, malformed or damaged PDF files can increase the time required to open or process a PDF. On very small or “clean” PDF files, the additional time can be noticeable. On larger files or more complex operations with execution times of a few seconds or more, there’s no significant speed change compared to our older software.
Appligent Document Solutions has developed server software for managing and manipulating PDF files on the server since 1998. In that time, and in close consultation with selected clients, we’ve arrived at some important conclusions about what really matters in PDF server software. When we sat down to clarify our priorities, the following list rapidly emerged.
The essence of why the world chooses PDF as the electronic document format of record is the perception that PDF always appears and behaves the same way on all operating systems. Unfortunately, it’s not always so – not all PDFs are created equal. We anticipate that the problem of malformed PDF files to persist for many years.
Our customers, who tend towards the institutional and the corporate, demand completely consistent results and the highest level of quality available.
Current-generation Appligent Document Solutions server software optimizes input PDF files with Adobe’s PDF Library, the highest quality available, and upgrades them to meet ISO 32000.
Server software should function against any valid input. Many PDF creation tools produce files that are malformed in various subtle ways. Because these problems are commonplace, Adobe has decided to support such malformed files in their Acrobat and Reader software.
Appligent Document Solutions’ software, because it’s now built on the Adobe PDF Library, gains the same ability to handle malformed PDF files as Adobe’s own products.
Our customers expect and receive world-class innovation from Appligent Document Solutions, and we wanted to enhance our ability to meet this expectation. In addition to freeing development time to concentrate on new products and features, Adobe’s PDF Library provides a wealth of additional capabilities that we can leverage in new software.
Somewhat to our surprise, our priorities review revealed that execution speed was the least of the four key performance factors. Simply put, our customers felt that it was far more important for software to perform as expected than it was to shave two-tenths of a second when the application starts up.
To maximize the execution speed of our server applications:
- Ensure the maximum amount of free RAM is available, preferably 4 GB.
- Utilize the new “command collections” feature, available in our latest-generation server software. Collections allow you to process multiple commands in a single operation.
- Use watched folders.
- Pre-process documents with pdfHarmony before they enter the time-critical portions of your workflow.