ISO certifies Adobe's PDF
Standard delivers, albeit at leisurely pace
The International Standardisation Organisation has ratified Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF) as an official international standard, though it won't make PDF documents load any faster.
Adobe handed PDF to the Association for Information and Image Management about 18 months ago, which started the standardisation process. The company is hoping that being an ISO standard will encourage more governmental, and large-corporate, use of PDF documents.
PDF was, at one point, promoted as a superior alternative to HTML for laying out pages, encapsulated by the acronym WYSIWOG - what you see is what others get. But punters balked at the idea of paying $50 for the reader, killing any aspirations in that space.
At the time it seemed that with a free reader PDF would completely dominate document distribution, and back than the web consisted of documents rather than today's interactive hyperlink-soup. As an ISO-approved standard PDF could yet become the only way to represent documents - it's possible to imagine HTML being reduced to providing the text layout for web-based applications.
The new standard is version 1.7 of the PDF spec, henceforth to be known as "ISO 32000-1:2008", and is available (as a PDF) for only 370 Swiss Francs. ®
""... OpenOffice 3.0 will read-modify-save them..."
you sure about that? i wasnae aware that there were any apps that could open PDFs in an editable form"
Yep, the OOo "what's new" for 3.0 includes the capability to import PDF for editing. Besides that, there are several apps that can edit PDF files, beginning (of course) with Acrobat Professional, Adobe Illustrator (one page at a time), Freehand (was a bit rudimentary in the last version I used, but good enough to change some text)... and of course, if you only want to change some positioning or text content, any text editor will do (if you know a little about the actual PDF language -- it's a bit like an uprated version of Postscript). I'm certain there are a bunch of other applications out there that can do it, too.
And to all those whining about "yet another standard," be advised that PDF has been THE standard in the printing industry for over a decade now, because it delivers exactly what the graphic designer has concocted in a small, cross-platform compatible and non-misinterpretable package. Anybody who has ever tried to get exactly what was designed over to the printer's in any application-proprietary file format or markup format (PDF is not a markup format, it's a page description language like Postscript!) will probably understand the seductiveness of the Portable Document Format.
Too funny! But hopefully it won't use EMACS, it'll be based on JOVE!
I installed Foxit because I too was fed up with a new version of Adobe Reader every week, a 50M download, and huge ass MSI packages installed both in user profiles and under program files.
Yep Foxit opens faster :). Now open up a complex PDF, maybe one that includes vector graphics like a PdfCreator print from Autocad. Foxit takes forever to draw. Now drag the window to the other side of your screen, without even resizing it, and wait for Foxit to take forever *again* to redraw. Now resize the window down a little, because you don't need all that gray background outside the page border and wait for Foxit to take forever *again* to redraw.
Now repeat this task with Adobe and see which one actually takes more time. At least Adobe properly caches the rendered screen image instead of starting over from scratch every time you move the window around.
Foxit is good but its not there yet, it shows all the signs of amateurly written software that has never been firetested with large, complex documents.
I do like how it remembers the last page I was on and the last printer used though.
OK for reading, no good for analysing
PDF has one major problem - no document structural markup, ie anything indicating what's a heading, where a paragraph starts and ends etc.
Fine for viewing on screen and printing, but if you want a machine to read it, analyse it, extract information for search & discovery, then it's awful. Even worse if you want to extract tables or other structured information.
HTML's actually a much better format for this.
Unfortunately a lot of documents are getting published (and archived) in PDF only.