PDF In-Depth

PDF goes to ISO: The road ahead

Reader and the validation tool (cont'd)

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Adobe has never released a "PDF Validator", a tool to document compliance or deviation from an "ideal" PDF. If a PDF Standard is to mean anything, it would mean that a validation tool could be built by someone other than Adobe Systems. But it wouldn't be welcomed everywhere.

Martin Bailey, CTO of Global Graphics says: "If [Adobe] brought out a genuine validation tool today the howls of protest from third-party vendors, their customers (and probably Adobe's CS team!) would be extremely painful, even if it strengthened PDF and its associated ecosystem in the longer term."

I wonder. How better to get the painful moves accomplished than by tossing the issue into a Committee? For Adobe, the trauma to third parties and their customers will all be defensible. After all, the Committee is responsible for the Standard that begets the Validation Tool, not Adobe. Moreover, the Committee's work is very much in the long-term interest of consumers. It's the classic "price of progress".

Stephan Jaeggi, co-author of PDF/X-3 and Technical Officer of the Ghent PDF Workgroup, welcomes Adobe's intention to submit PDF to ISO. "This gives all existing and developing standards based on PDF like PDF/A, PDF/X, PDF/E and PDF/UA a more stable base." Jaeggi says. "On the other hand it will certainly slow down the development of PDF."

Martin Bailey agrees, and concluded our discussion with the following thought: "There are clear reasons why Adobe has to take PDF into the standards arena, and clear benefits for users and vendors alike. On the other hand I'll be interested to see how the time-scales of iterative standards development interact with development of new versions of Adobe's PDF-based products; that's going to be a fascinating planning process for all of us."

Indeed!

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