PDF 2001 West: The next-best game in town
Phoenix hosts World Series final, Acrobat PDF conference

7 November 2001

PDF 2001 West

"Two World-class events took place in Phoenix this week. The locals -- the Arizona Diamondbacks -- playing for the World series, went on to win the Major League Baseball championship with some 40 million viewers watching worldwide. Likewise, although playing to a considerably smaller crowd, Carl Young and his PDF 2001 West conference teammates (speakers) on put on another memorable educational event centered around Adobe Acrobat and the portable document format.

"The experience was excellent!" says Nathan Lemon of Minitab, Inc. "I will be back for future events -- and I have never said that about a conference before."

Karl De Abrew, CEO of BinaryThing/Planet PDF, concurs: "With the tragic recent events and the general economic climate that we all find ourselves in, it's extremely positive and uplifting to find that learning about Acrobat & PDF is still so important to people that they're willing to take the time and trouble to travel. Carl Young has once again produced an excellent conference for those who need to learn much more about Acrobat and PDF users and uses."

Despite concerns that recent -- and continuing -- terrorist activities had conspired to keep many potential attendees at home, Young forged ahead with the event. Although attendance was down somewhat from last year's conference in Phoenix, Young feels it only added to the event's reputation as a wonderfully informal, information-rich give-and-take between attendees and invited experts.

Pdf 2001 West Scrapbook

Expert speakers represented numerous countries, including Germany, Switzerland, Israel and Australia and gave presentations on key applications and timely issues related to PDF. When not lecturing, they could often be found huddled in private exchanges, sharing their expertise in and out of the organized sessions. [See the "PDF Scrapbook" [PDF: 4.1 MB] from PDF 2001 West, produced by Ted Padova and Thomas Merz]

"One of the great things about running a users' conference is the pleasure I receive when I see attendees get their questions answered," says Young, conference host and head of DigiPub Solutions Corp. "You meet people on the first morning who are so frustrated with PDF that they are ready to burst, and after a few sessions they are smiling and happy. That says a lot about the quality of our speakers, and the effectiveness of their presentations."

Among the speakers were a tag team from Adobe Systems, Dov Isaacs and Lori DeFurio, who kicked off the event with a keynote on Acrobat 5.0, taking questions from the floor, delivering a no-slides presentation with questions accepted and answered in real time.

Demonstrating a fictitious corporation, "Imagine," Dov and Lori illustrated how an expense report implemented as a PDF form would be routed from an employee to a manager, and to a manager's manager for approval. The form used PDF-based Forms, ASP and JavaScript.

Garbage In Garbage Out

Each then followed with a respective solo topic. Isaacs, a Principal Scientist in Adobe's Product Interoperability group and probably the most widely known online and user-respected company representative dealing with Acrobat and FrameMaker issues, delivered what several witnesses have hailed as a Must Read presentation on "Reliable PDF Creation in the Enterprise" [PDF: 1.1 MB]." It covered intertwined themes of content creation, PDF file creation and post-PDF file creation tweaking.

De Abrew praised it as "one of the most unique, on-point presentations of issues relating to PDF creation that I've ever seen."

Leonard Rosenthol of LazerWare added that "every single person using PDF should read this presentation, read it again, then read it a third time."

DeFurio, Acrobat Developer Evangelist at Adobe, later presented sessions on "Setting Up Acrobat 5 for Review and Markup" and "Preparing PDF for Alternative Devices."

Adobe, noticeably absent from the inaugural PDF Conference a year ago, added to its visibility and support this year by also sending a member of the Acrobat User Interface design team.

"We scheduled a last-minute session, so attendees had a chance to raise current pet peeves and bring up items for their wish lists for future versions of Acrobat," says Young. "We are glad that Adobe sees the value of a conference dedicated to PDF users, and we appreciate their continued support."

During the next three days, a steady parade of equally knowledgeable speakers led sessions that dealt with PDF Forms, PDF and PrePress, PDF Security, Interactive PDFs, Acrobat plug-ins, Developing with Acrobat and more.

PDF Forms seemed to be an especially relevant topic. Ted Padova, author of the Acrobat 5 PDF Bible, cited "an impressive demonstration on how Adobe is implementing digital signatures and forms throughout Adobe Claims forms, HR and Adobe is really implementing technology throughout their own environment. Real world situation using their own technology."

Bouyed by the turnout and strongly positive feedback, Young announced the dates for the next east-coast rendition of the PDF Conference (www.pdfconference.com) -- June 3, 4 & 5 in the Washington, DC area. The conference will focus on government and enterprise users. For more information, send E-mail to carl@pdfconference.com to be added to the notification list.


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