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Day Two at the Orlando PDF Conference

May 18, 2006

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Editor's Note: Formerly CEO of Planet PDF, Karl De Abrew is now the CEO of Debenu (www.debenu.com) -- maker of the Quick PDF Library (formerly iSEDQuickPDF | QuickPDF) (www.quickpdflibrary.com), a powerful royalty-free PDF developer SDK, and Benubird Pro, the easy-to-use personal document management system.

First up, with regard to the wild rumors that I'd discussed yesterday, well, it seems that these were indeed just that. I'd heard on the grapevine that Adobe was planning to remove support for AcroForms in preference for Adobe Designer in an upcoming version of Acrobat and, although initial Adobe reps were unwilling to either confirm or deny this wild speculation, Adobe Acrobat Group Product Manager Rick Brown categorically dispelled the rumor and stated that not only will AcroForms be fully functional, but that you'll also be able to create them from within Acrobat as well.

Doh! There goes my excitement for the day. I've planned a trip to some of the more hair-raising rides in DisneyWorld tomorrow to make up for it.

But getting back to the event, as I mentioned in my conference reflections yesterday, there's a general sense of wanting to know what the result of the Adobe/Macromedia merger will be -- exactly how will it impact on the PDF user community at large? One part of Adobe Acrobat Group Product Manager Rick Brown's keynote discussion identified that in the long run Flash and PDF are two very key technologies that will be brought closer together.

I had a chance to talk with Apago's Leonard Rosenthol (one of the key contents drivers at the conference) and he suggested what users are most interested in right now was information on what will happen to Adobe/Macromedia products that currently compete with each other. People are wondering what's going to happen to products like Freehand, GoLive and so on, and the information on the future of technologies like PDF, Flash and Apollo are really of secondary importance.

Rosenthol would like to see more practical guidance from Adobe through this phase of the two companies merging so that users can start to prepare themselves for what's to come. In essence -- and to steal Microsoft's old mantra -- Rosenthol wants to know, where does "Macrobe" want to go today? For example, as a Freehand user, should one make the switch to using Illustrator right now?

Commenting on the rest of the event, Rosenthol felt that the conference was a good one because it addressed a lot of pain points for end users, and didn't spend too long on what might be in the future. By focusing on existing features and tools that make life as a PDF worker significantly easier today, the conference helped attendees find tricks and tips that have solved real world problems. People came here to get solutions and generally speaking left with them.

Rosenthol said that it's the technologists that care about continual updates to technology for its own sake and that end-users care far more about real world solutions such as those solved in the Power Panel. Since I'm the moderator for the Power Panel, of course, I heartily agreed. Oh, and by the way, you can find all of the questions asked in the power panel located in the Planet PDF Forum under the PDF Conferences area.

That's it for this year and AGI's event. The conference organizer, Christopher Smith, has confirmed for Planet PDF that the show will be running again at DisneyWorld, Orlando next year in early May. We'll will be back once again, both covering the event and hosting the Power Panel as usual. Have a magical day!

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