Pre-Purchase Insights: Everything you need to know before you buy.
By Ivan Nincic | 2018 Aug 23
It has been a year since the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) announced the publication of ISO 32000-2 (PDF 2.0), so it’s a good time to reflect on the state of the technology and the actual implementation of the standard.
The transition to PDF 2.0 happened smoothly at Apryse, with thousands of our customers seamlessly upgrading their solutions to support the features and changes introduced in 2.0.
Reflecting on this, we identified 3 major reasons for the smooth transition:
With the path to 2.0 starting in 2008, PDF 2.0 is the culmination of nine years of work by the ISO group. With official representation on the PDF ISO committees, Apryse was intimately aware of the ongoing discussions and coming changes, and as a result we implemented new features and tweaked our implementation long before 2.0’s official release in July 2017. Most of our customers received important upgrades such as support for new encryption schemes and UTF-8 many years before the standard was officially published. And, over the years we worked out any remaining bugs and compatibility issues.
Although the new features are impressive and enable some interesting new use cases, perhaps the most significant change relates to clarifications in ISO 32000-1. PDF 2.0 addresses ambiguities, corrects errors, and updates normative references and critical clauses. Altogether, 14% of the specification was entirely rewritten. Since seamless upgrades are a priority for Apryse, it was important that we maintain backwards compatibility, and we were able to successfully isolate customers from most of these changes.
Apryse's powerful SDF/Cos API allowed our customers to implement support for upcoming PDF 2.0 features long before the official release. This includes support for advanced digital signatures, unencrypted wrapper, associated files, rich-media annotations, geospatial features and PRC, and a 3D format. This in large part removed the need for bloated high-level APIs that change or break during product upgrades.
Looking at the broader industry, adoption of the new format has been slow. Random sampling of documents from the web shows that only a miniscule fraction (less than 1%) of documents are PDF 2.0 compatible. Even when it comes to pure viewing, desktop and mobile browser platforms don’t offer sufficient PDF 2.0 support out-of-the-box (in the best case annotations are garbled; in the worst case files can’t be opened).
To facilitate PDF 2.0 adoption, Apryse plans to introduce a solution that can mass convert and optimize legacy PDF documents (PDF 1.0-1.7, and ISO 32000-1) to PDF 2.0, as well as the upcoming PDF/A format (PDF/A-Next) based on ISO 32000-2. Stay tuned!
We are also working closely with customers on new high-level APIs to streamline their implementations. If you have any questions regarding PDF 2.0, or you are looking for guidance, please get in touch.
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