Adobe's Jim King on PDF - Has It Been 10 Years?
Keynote presentation from Seybold Amsterdam PDF Summit

13 June 2003

By Kurt Foss, Planet PDF Editor

With the 10-year mark since Acrobat and PDF were officially launched by Adobe on June 15, 1993 now just days away, Adobe's James C. King offered a personal reflection in his keynote presentation at the Seybold PDF Summit in Amsterdam yesterday. With expressed permission of King and Seybold, we're making his presentation titled "PDF: Has It Been 10 Years?" available for download in PDF.

As with many other public presentations he's made explaining various Adobe technologies -- especially Acrobat and PDF -- King includes the content of his talk as annotations within the presentation. That makes it easy for someone not experiencing the live event to still understand the content; one can simply print the comments and then follow along while viewing the presentation on screen.

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This talk is a sort of "Greatest Hits" from a number of King's previous presentations on Acrobat and PDF, as he explained in a recent interview with Planet PDF: 'Adobe's Jim King talks about first Acrobat and PDF decade.' It's an assortment made up of single slides from talks dating back to the beginning of the software and format, opening with a reference to John Warnock's original "Camelot" paper that spelled out his vision in 1991. That document is available for download on Planet PDF. The progression illustrates how PDF has evolved during periodic updates to the specification.

As King notes in the comments, the selected slides don't necessarily reflect the most significant features or functionality at various intervals in the Acrobat/PDF evolution, but rather represent topics he found in need of clarification at the time -- "things that can be made more clear and would be helpful to Adobe's customers."

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The "simplest sell" in the Acrobat 1.0 era, King says, was that "you could deliver paper documents electronically" at a time when "it was becoming a larger and larger expense for companies to send paper all over the globe."

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King concludes by explaining that while he "was preparing this presentation, I had hours lost in sweet remembrance of days gone by and features almost forgotten."

But the real focus at Adobe these days is not looking back. but also ahead, with a return to the "office tool" theme from the technology's early days. "Adobe sees great growth in some of the original PDF visions of providing epaper to the office," King says. "Forms is the glue that connects most, if not all, office business. If we can help people turn those forms into electronic workflows, we can save everyone a lot of time and money," King says.

Judging by the record second quarter revenue for Adobe's ePaper products and solutions announced yesterday, there may be some money in it for Adobe, too.


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