SSF02: Seven Minutes with a PDF Developer showcases diverse products
Companies race the clock with soft-sell pitches at Seybold PDF Conference

22 September 2002

By Kurt Foss, Planet PDF Editor

A select group of PDF-oriented developers had a near-ideal vendor opportunity at the recent Seybold PDF Conference SF 2002 -- a captive, Acrobat-aware audience with a genuine interest in learning about ways and tools to work more efficiently and effectively with PDF.

Catch #1: No hard-sell tactics -- strictly informational spiels, with live demonstrations optional (but generally expected).

Catch #2: Absolutely, positively no more than seven minutes per product/speaker, start to finish. The clock runs continuously, no matter if your demo stalls or equipment malfunctions. Session co-hosts David Zwang and Karl De Abrew bring any long-winded speakers to an abrupt halt, as the next speaker is quickly summoned to the microphone in order to keep the session moving.

Those who made the cut this year for one of the conference's most popular topical sessions were:

  • Martin Bailey, Senior Technical Consultant, Global Graphics (
    Bailey's presentation on "Making Your PDF/X Workflow Work" featured a brief description of PDF/X and of its potential for creating predictable perpress output (when utilized properly), and included a demonstration of the free Overprint Control Strip from Global Graphics, an easy way to test overprinting.

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  • Vicki Blake, Dir. Business Development, Enfocus Software (
    Enfocus Certified PDF Reader

    Blake unveiled Enfocus' "Certified PDF Reader," a free plug-in that runs on Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader, and that allows one to check the 'Certified PDF' status of a file. It's the latest extension of the company's Certified PDF Workflow solution, a "reliable way to create and exchange print-ready PDF files." According to Enfocus, its Certified PDF concept is "designed to address three fundamental issues faced by the majority of users implementing a PDF workflow." The issues are:

    • How to guarantee that a PDF document was successfully preflighted with a specific PDF Profile

    • How to maintain consistency between the source document(s) and the PDF document when (minor) changes can be applied to the PDF document throughout the workflow

    • How to minimize risk and have certainty about responsibility when changing a customer's PDF document before final output

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  • Dr. Peter Leu, Heidelberg (
    Heidelberg Supercolor
    Leu introduced Heidelberg's latest Acrobat plugin, SuperColor, for color management and announced that SuperTrap, another Acrobat plugin for trapping, was now at version 3.0. Next month Heidelberg will publicly demonstrate for the first time its completely JDF-based prepress workflow -- at Graphexpo in Chicago. The "Prinect Printready System," part of the company's Prinect system solution, "automates every prepress production step and also includes transparent data transfer to press and postpress." Within Heidelberg's Prinect workflow management system, Prinect Printready also permits coordination of the production and business-related workflows in a printing shop.

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  • Frank Delanghe, D Soft (
    D Soft PDFServer

    Belgium-based D Soft, a company with "a lot of PDF expertise," developed its D-PDF Server [PDF: 197kb] -- a server-based document conversion system for Windows NT/2000 using the company's own PDF Library -- at the request of customers. It allows users to convert a large number of document types to Adobe PDF. The system eliminates the need for users to have the respective native applications for each file type present on their system. D Soft also offers a range of related PDF products.

    Key Features include:

    • support for more than 200 document formats
    • native support for Office2000 documents
    • multiple interfaces such as Web, mail, file path
    • no client workstation configuration required
    • fast native conversion, scalable solution
    • reduced network traffic/load

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  • Tim Brady, Organic Software (
    Organic Software
    Organic Software offered a preview of its forthcoming Organic Master Toolbox [PDF: 84kb] for Adobe Acrobat, which will run under either Acrobat 4 or 5 (Windows only). The 20 tools in the application's toolbox are designed to be easy to use and to work together, and can be combined in a "MacroBatch sequenced run." Tools include: Stamper, TOCBuilder, BookMarker, ImagePlaver, DocuMerger, PDFBuilder, PDFSplitter, MediaSizer, ContentScaler, LinkManager, Flattener, DogEars, OpenOptions, SecuritySetter and InfoSetter.

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  • Gary Armstrong, Lantana (
    Lantana reviewed its lineup of Acrobat/PDF-oriented products, focusing primarily on the latest release of Crackerjack, now at version 4.0. New features in the latest version include:

    • Print Preview - Preview separations and other Crackerjack settings before printing

    • Spot Color Mapping - Selectively map spot colors into other spot colors

    • Font Embedding "Fixer" - Crackerjack can check a PDF document for non-embedded fonts before printing. Provides the user with options to fix, cancel, or print anyway

    • Expanded RGB Conversion Options - Now use ICC profiles to control conversion of RGB images to CMYK

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  • Eugene Allred, Document Intelligence Agency (
    The Dpcument Intelligence Agency previewed ScatterMaster 2002, which moves data from any form to a database. It is expected to be commercially available in November following a two-year beta test, according to the company.

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  • Ken Fujimoto, BestNewsPaper (
    BestNewspaper showcased the Docudyne Dynamic PDF Server, a Java-based J2EE-compatible server application that generates PDF files for interactive Web delivery. The server software combines multiple XML data files into a PDF based on a user query. The text is laid out in newspaper columns and interactive features (buttons, checkboxes, bookmarks, and hyperlinks are created on-the-fly. Features include:

    • Fast (can generate 60 pages of PDF in less than a second on a Pentium III 633 server)

    • Small PDF files (approx 10k per page)

    • Scalable (can be used in clusters

    • 10 inexpensive servers can create over 2 million PDF pages per hour)

    The BestNewspaper Web site offers a live demonstration of the system for building an on-the-fly PDF-based newspaper from a veriety of sources.

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  • Michael J. Patrick, Ansyr Technology Corporation (
    Ansyr demoed Jaws PDF Editor, a software application developed in partnership with Global Graphics and released earlier this year. Version 2.0 is expected to be released late in 2002, and will offer a range of new features. The product is aimed at the enterprise and office environment, and features an MS Office-like interface to its various PDF manipulation capabilities.

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  • Mark Stephens, IDRsolutions (
    IDRsolutions StoryPad
    UK-based IDRsolutions demonstrated Storypad, its Java-based tool for extracting and translating PDF content -- both text and images -- using fuzzy logic to guess the page structure. It's available commercially in both an enterprise and a personal edition versions. Also shown was JPedal -- Java PDF Extraction Decode Access Library -- a Java library released under the LGPL license for extracting text and images from PDF files. JPedal does not provide the same functionality as Storypad.

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  • Leonard Rosenthol, PDF Sages (
    PDF Sages offered a sneak preview of an upcoming product called "PDF Enhancer," due for release later this month as both a desktop and server-based product, both Macintosh and Windows versions. It's designed primarily to improve the compression (significantly reduce the size) of PDF files created with Apple's OS X native PDF-creation capability, noteworthy for producing "bloated" PDF files.

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  • Aandi Inston, Quite Software (
    Quite Revealing
    Quite revealed Quite Revealing, its latest product release designed for prepress professionals and others who produce PDF files for prepress use. It reveals information that otherwise is not readily viewable about a PDF file -- transparency, overprinting, etc. And it can be used to fix many of the problems it might reveal.

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  • Dan-Ari Feinberg, TeamPDF (
    TeamPDF previewed its upcoming release of TeamMarkup, an Acrobat plugin that provides "an ePen to markup your ePaper." The plugin adds a palette of common copy-editing tools to Acrobat, and can also track who made changes or comments and when.

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  • Nick Carr, Allette Systems (
    Allette Systems demonstrated PageSeeder from Weborganic Systems Pty Ltd., based in Australia. It's a tool for review, annotation and collaboration, and allows full-threaded discussion of comments, including email notification and reply by email. PageSeeder allows a company to:
    • Share PDFs on line with access control
    • Automatically notify users of new PDFs
    • Store annotations in a central database
    • Authenticate annotation authors
    • Prevent modification and tampering
    • Automatically norify new users of new annotations
    • Reply to annotations by email or Web form
    • Have threaded discussions in PDF
    • Move PDFs without losing annotations
    • Control levels of access to annotations

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  • Scott C. Withrow, ComplyX Structured Information, Inc. (
    Comply XStructured
    Withrow's presentation titled "PDF Development for Electronic Healthcare Claims" discussed how to leverage familiar PDF forms for healthcare claims, exporting data as XFDF or submitting the form in XML; then remove Adobe namespace reference, and apply XSLT to convert to HIPAA-mandated X12N EDI format.

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  • Michael Dornberg, SmartPath (

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  • Dan Everard, Creo (
    Creo introduced its new Prinergy Publish system that "enhances publisher control over content preparation workflow, enabling the creation of production-ready files." The system provides an automated file trapping, color management and proofing solution Supports any import file and multiple export options, including JDF & PDF/x-1a Oracle® database enables workflow management, job tracking, archiving, reporting, and more.


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