Adobe Here, Adobe There, Adobe Everywhere

Short News Update

Earlier this month, in an interview with the New York Times, Adobe CEO, Bruce Chizen, mentioned a couple of future plans Adobe has for its product line.

In the cards, is the next update of Adobe’s Creative Suite which is scheduled for next spring, notable as it’ll be integrating technology from it’s recent Macromedia acquisition (hold onto your mouse for that one!).

And for the chronic PDF makers and/or users out there, mark your calendars, the upcoming release of Acrobat 8 is scheduled for the end of 2006. No details as of yet.

Short Side Musings

In the interview, the Adobe CEO was questioned about how consumers were reacting to Adobe Flash-enabled handsets.

And in response, Chizen noted that communicating digital content is what keeps Adobe going. With the growing trend of creating content for e-community pages and for sites with downloadable media, helping users to communicate that content gives Adobe its permanent foothold in the industry.

Nothing surprising here, nothing new there.

However, it was interesting to read along as he pointed out that everyday things– magazine layouts, newspaper fonts, graphic images on packaging, have all, more than likely, been in contact with an Adobe software application or tool at one point or another. . . .Take the time to take and look around yourselves. Do you see Adobe?

It gives you a slightly different perspective on things—an Adobe PDF perspective, that is.

Short Summary

Chizen made a valid point in the interview: “Adobe is everywhere you look.”  And in our PDF world, it is.

The Near Future of the PDF

The way the future of the PDFs is going, you can expect to see big things. PDFs are being used for engineering, publishing and archiving. There are a number of PDF tools for creating, distributing, managing, developing, indexing, securing, viewing, editing, storing, (take a breath) and one we’re all familiar with—converting.

However, over-the-top innovation isn’t necessary for a format’s improvement. Its development can come in the most common packages. Hence, one more development to include (or rather, underline) in the list– authoring applications.

Microsoft and Metro

First authoring applications that comes to mind: MS Office applications. First PDF development that comes to mind: Metro– sound like something that interests you and your working habits?

Microsoft’s Metro, aka XPS (XML Paper Specification) is basically an alternative to the PDF format. XPS can do a lot of the same things a PDF does. It can contain regular PDF elements, such as editable metadata, annotations, digital signatures, text selection, hyperlinks, and bookmarks. The functionality works by simply saving your documents as an XPS document.

Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher—the well-known 2007 Office application canon will support the functionality. More notably, the future release of the Vista OS is going to provide native XPS functionality support such as viewers, writers and even print drivers to facilitate working with the format. Viewers are also being made available in beta versions on the Microsoft site.

For “Metro Makers” in the Making

A differentiating fact: XPS is an XML-based document container file generated at the document creation level.

A user fact: With millions of MS Office users, the functionality will be easily accessible for individuals and groups working exclusively with the PDF format.

A buzz fact: A year in the news headlines, XPS is being tested out and talked about. The PDF community is waiting to see how the XPS format, as a native format, will catch on when it comes time to ship.

“Hi-ho, Hi-ho, It’s Off to Work We Go…???

It’s August. It’s summer. And it’s sunny outside. Not too hot, not too chilly A really nice day and way too easy to get distracted by just looking out the window.

And amidst the lazy summer days of popsicles and vacations, the (work) beat goes on. Stretch out the sluggishness and take a deep breath. . . .We’re at it too, fielding questions and troubleshooting tech queries—armed with a coke slushee in one hand and a mouse in the other. So bring it on. . . .

We received a tech question recently (from a client who “brought it”) that’ll serve as a good tip to keep in mind when converting your PDFs.

A client was trying to convert a PDF into another format and claimed that the PDF didn’t convert properly at all. The PDF, when opened in our software, displayed gibberish/garbage text, “even though it opened and looked fine on Acrobat.”

The issue here was that the native PDF contained some damaged fonts, in which case Acrobat Reader just draws the letters, but doesn’t recognize them.

If you’ve encountered this problem– or ever do in the future, you can check to see if the fonts are damaged or not by selecting a part of the PDF in question and copying it by using the Copy command under the Edit menu of the Adobe Reader (first, ensure that you are in Select mode: Tools> Basic> Select Text).

Then open MS Word or Notepad and paste the pattern. If the fonts are undamaged, the should turn out readable. Our software will recognize this and therefore doesn’t show damaged fonts properly in the viewer even though Adobe can.

If, however, our software viewer does display the fonts correctly in the software viewer (even when the fonts are clearly damaged in the original PDF), then the user can use the Professional versions of our software to enable the OCR engine to generate the conversion, treating the native/original PDF document as an image file.

So you can still get your conversion done with such PDFs, although you’ll get it through a different approach. For future cases, if a conversion doesn’t come out right, first check that the PDFs you’re converting are properly made as successful conversions rely on the original PDF itself (its security, fonts, scan quality, etc.).

It’ll go a long way to save you the extra frustration in trying out different methods to get the conversion done. More importantly, it’ll help you get your work done quicker so you can enjoy the rest of the day.

(*slurp, sluurp*, *click*. . . )

Have fun!

Apollo: A Deity Descending

The PDF world is silent and seemingly still. CPU’s buzz and hum under the daily grind as they work towards maximum usage. Users are clicking away on the keyboard, typing their way closer to the future. . . . And all under the shade of anticipation for Apollo.

Yes, it’s coming. As mentioned, Adobe is coming out with Apollo, their new up and coming media platform. Still wonder what this Sun god namesake is?

Apollo is a cross-operating system runtime intended to make it easier for developers to create and set out Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) to the desktop that can render Flash animations and HTML functionality as well as the PDF’s containing abilities, ultimately enabling Web-applications to function outside the browser.

The software will allow developers to create applications by using already widely used Web designing and creation tools. Apollo applications will look and function like any average desktop application, included with installers and uninstallers.

The important issue here is that while Web applications can function on different operating systems, they don’t work when disconnected from the Internet. This is one of the browser restrictions Apollo seeks to improve.

Thus, with Apollo files (with Internet content and media), people could access work online, save it offline, work on it and then have any changes updated and synchronized with the Internet version once reconnected.

All without an Internet browser? Yes, without an Internet browser. Then what?—The PDF. The PDF’s capability of containing rich media content is being pushed to its limits as an applications container. The primary setback would, of course, be the file size of those Apollo documents.

The release of the product will be the first one under the Macromedia-Adobe union. Its distribution campaign has yet to be set in stone, but you can expect for it to be available via free download. Apollo is intended for a release in the first half of 2007.

Will Apollo be the Apps god it intends to be?

Behind the Velvet Curtain

Everyone loves the anticipation of an exciting show. And in this day and age, you can find one almost anywhere in the techno world. Example: there’s been something in the air for a long time between Microsoft and Adobe. The names are big and their developments even bigger. So, what’s going on? Let’s take a peek behind the velvet curtain.

Microsoft and Adobe.
Just recently, Adobe came out with an anti-trust lawsuit settled out of court, when Microsoft added the free PDF functionality in Office 2007, undercutting the ability to charge for the plug-in. You couldn’t have missed it; it was everywhere during the month of June. Reality: When the dust settled Microsoft backed down and are withdrawing it from the Office 2007 release.

Yet, that didn’t discourage Microsoft as they still have their own XPS (XML Paper Specification) print subsystem, also known as “Metro” which was announced last year. The system creates electronic based PDF-like documents supporting basic PDF characteristics. Microsoft intends to keep the Save as XPS function for Office 2007 and Vista. An open format, XPS will be similar to Opensource –an alternative to the Adobe PDF software format, allowing users to share, print and archive documents at the creation level by running the PDF functionality in its own authoring application.

Then there are the story headlines going on in the media graphics arena. . . .(feeling the anticipation yet?)

Adobe and Microsoft.

Adobe’s acquisition of Macromedia, Inc. in 2005 made computer news headlines. With the possession of Macromedia, Adobe also acquired Macromedia’s Flash. And recently, there have been news reports of something called “Apollo,” a client-based software capable of running Flash applications online or offline, without a browser, using PDF as the container. A bundle of software that pushes innovative web applications to another level.

Around that same time, alongside Adobe’s new corporate possession, was the announcement of Microsoft’s Expression media suite of graphic tools known as Expression. Comprising the Expression studio is Expression Graphic Designer; Expression Interactive Designer; and Expression Web Designer. All three are graphic design tools to enhance the graphic designer and user end experience. CTPs (Community Technology Previews) for Expression Graphic Designer and Expression Interactive Designer were released in June and people are already commenting on it. It’s a big first step in the graphics department for Microsoft.

Pass the Popcorn

So what gives? Well, from the looks of it, both companies are coming to a head and seem to be geared towards making a statement about browser, PDF and media applications control to see who can put out the best stuff.

One word, two syllables: In-tense. No doubt about it being healthy competition, though (a little too healthy for some). And no doubt everyone’ll be waiting and watching for the outcome as the products come out in full fledged user versions.

In the meantime, the stage is set and the lights are on– pass the popcorn!