PDF In-Depth

Claudia McCue: First Impressions of Acrobat 7.0

Performance and platforms



SHEA: In forums and at conferences, one issue that just keeps coming up -- particularly since the release of v6.0 -- is the slow loading times of Acrobat. With the Acrobat 7.0 family, Adobe has tackled this head-on with the creation of a "speed launcher" for Windows users in addition to other tweaks for both Mac and Windows platforms. What do you think of the changes, and have you noticed any significant improvements in performance with v7.0?

MCCUE: Here are my results:

Macintosh OS X 10.3.5; G4 1.5GHz PowerBook; 1G RAM

  • Acrobat 6.0 Pro: 12 seconds
  • Distiller 6.0: 5 seconds
  • Acrobat 7.0 Pro [beta 5]: 2.5 seconds
  • Distiller 7 [beta 5]: 6 seconds (actually slower than v.6)

Windows XP Pro, SP1; IBM ThinkPad 1.7GHz; 1G RAM

  • Acrobat 6.0 Pro: 4 seconds
  • Distiller 6.0: 2 seconds
  • Acrobat 7.0 Pro [beta 5]: <1 second (first launch was 14 seconds, but following launches were almost instantaneous)
  • Distiller 7 [beta 5]: <1 second (first launch was 21 seconds, but subsequent launches almost instantaneous

Wow-it's the Microwave Acrobat! One downside: This will make us impatient with other applications... Hurry up, Photoshop!

SHEA: Any general observations on feature parity between the Windows and Macintosh versions?

MCCUE: It's a relief to be able to view PDFs in a browser on the Mac again (although, apparently, only in Safari). At least, this facilitates forms submission on the Macintosh.

I'm disappointed that PDFMaker is still so anemic on the Mac: it's slow, and can't even translate hyperlinks (although it does tag for accessibility and reflow). It asks each time where the Printer Setup Utility is, and there are no options for controlling PDF output. I have both PCs and Macs, and when I need full functionality, I just use a PC. But not all Mac users have a computer for each hand.

As many others do [by which I mean Max], I lament that Forms Designer is Windows-only. Since I'm platform-bilingual, I'm not terribly hampered by that limitation, but it is as if Adobe thinks nobody builds forms on the Mac. Perhaps there are operating system issues that hinder porting Designer to the Mac (I can't say: I'm not a programmer), but surely there's a way to provide some of the functionality of Designer for Macintosh users. Whether there's sufficient market incentive, given that Windows Acrobat users no doubt outnumber Macintosh users, I can't say. Maybe this is an attractive opportunity for some Mac developers...

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