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This week in PDF: Competition and conversion...

May 11, 2006

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Server-side conversion to our favorite format seems to be the flavor of the week, with RealObjects, CambridgeDocs and Bluebeam Software all getting into the act. In other news, Adobe honcho unsurprisingly plays down the threats to Adobe's PDF-based revenue posed by competitive products and UNIVERSE Software offers a solution to the PDF equivalent of losing your keys.

Let's kick off with Mr. Chizen, shall we? According to Adobe's sanguine CEO, neither the pending version of Office's native PDF creation functionality nor plans by the world's most famous Bill to challenge the market dominance of Flash and Acrobat with elements of the pending Windows Presentation Foundation. Chizen claims that Adobe's business is focused more on PDF manipulation and processing than on creation:

"We had anticipated for many years that the revenue we achieve around PDF creation would, at some point in time, go away. It's an open standard! There are many clones out in the marketplace today that create PDF and compete with Acrobat."

Ultimately, time will tell, but the PDF format is firmly entrenched in numerous, highly-standardized workflows around the world, and it will take some serious moving and shaking to dislodge.

Speaking of potential format switches (how's that for a seamless segue?), this week's wires have been abuzz with new and updated PDF conversion software. RealObjects has entered the server-based PDF creation arena with PDFreactor, designed to dynamically convert XML and HTML content into PDF documents that look spiffy enough to take home to meet your parents. For more, check out the RealObjects Web site.

Still on the conversion theme, CambridgeDocs has announced an update to its xDoc Server product, which adds the ability to convert Microsoft Word documents into PDF files in a cross-platform environment via a handy XML-based widget. xDoc Server Version 2.02 is currently available, and more information on the product can be found on the CambridgeDocs Web site.

If that weren't enough, Bluebeam Software has also released an update to its server-based PDF creation tool. Bluebeam Conversion Server 2.0 is dedicated to the conversion of CAD and other Windows files into PDF documents or any of ten other file formats. See Bluebeam.com for more details.

Last-but-not-least, the meisters at German-based UNIVERSE Software have built a solution to a common problem -- the forgotten password. The pdf-Recover Professional 3.6 software package is capable of curing this particular headache can be used to decrypt the safety settings in the current version of Adobe Acrobat 7 and Form Designer. Use with care, however, as this tool is not intended to provide access to other people's secure files! Full details are available at the UNIVERSE Software Web site.

That's it for this week! Until next time...

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