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This week in PDF: The X(ML) factor

December 14, 2006

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In what is becoming a recurring motif, both Microsoft and Adobe are making news this week, in this case, both with XML-relevant items. Datalogics has also gotten into the act, releasing a new version of the Adobe PDF Library for licensing.

As I first reported about a year ago, Microsoft moved to have its new XML-based Office document formats accepted by standards body Ecma International. Last Thursday, Ecma announced its approval of this application, which had been backed by others including OS rival Apple. Microsoft's "Open XML" will be the default format saved by the 2007 Office applications, including Word and Excel. In effect, this means that the format's usage guidelines will be very similar to those of PDF: the specification will be open and it will be possible to freely license implementations of the format. With the recent storm over XPS and PDF creation from Microsoft Office, it will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

Also in XML-related news, Adobe has announced its Mars Project -- an initiative to redescribe the entire PDF format using an XML base or in other words, "An XML-friendly implementation of PDF syntax." Although PDF is already described in a tagged syntax "under the hood", this would allow Adobe to leverage more elegant XML grammar and allow for simplified integration with XML-based systems. Although the project is far from complete -- the current version of Mars doesn't yet support all of the current version of PDF's functionality -- this looks like a very promising development. For more on Project Mars, see the Adobe Labs Web site.

Last but not least, Datalogics has announced the release of a new version of the Adobe PDF Library for licensing. The new version will support the Windows 64-bit platform, which includes Windows Server 2003, XP Professional and the pending Vista operating systems. This release brings the total number of 64-bit platforms available from Datalogics to eight, including Sun Solaris, HP PA-RISC, HP Itanium, and Tru64. For more information, check out the Datalogics Web site.

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