Dotting the t's and crossing the i's is more work than that, PDF edition

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2010/09/29 07:01 -04:00, original URI:

Regular readers may recall recent blogs discussing problems with PDF in complex scripts like Beauty isn't only glyph deep and Beauty isn't only glyph deep, even for Microsoft and Acrobat PDF: the Yugo vs. the BMW vs. the Ferrari and Providing more information is the best way to assure correct information is received.

I thought it might be important to point out that one of the things I felt it important for Adobe to be doing that I mentioned way back in that first Beauty isn't only glyph deep blog:

And Adobe calls PDF

The global standard for trusted electronic documents and forms

do they? For me Adobe has no credibility on that statement until they either

That includes bring those free PDF writers forward. A hard problem, to be sure, but they created it themselves, and gave it to the planet. I think they owe it to the planet to make moves toward solutions.

As it turns out that, without too much fanfare, Adobe is perhaps at least trying to work toward meeting that burden:

As far as the rest of the world, one thing that is being done is that the PDF/A-2 specification includes a new “Unicode” conformance level which requires a ToUnicode table and/or ActualText entries, so that all text (visible or not!) has an associated Unicode codepoint.  In addition, there are also discussions on the ISO 32000 (PDF) committee about establishing such requirements for the forthcoming PDF 2.0 standard.

Now given the complex issues I point out in both Acrobat PDF: the Yugo vs. the BMW vs. the Ferrari and Providing more information is the best way to assure correct information is received, this may turn out to not be enough (both the BMW and the Ferrari coming out of Acrobat meet the minimum suggested burden and yet still have problems, which sugges that more needs to be done.

It is tempting to think of these issues as bugs in Acrobat to report that have little to do with the standard.

But it seems likely to me that if Adobe can make the mistake than anyone can -- and thus it makes sense for the standard to close this loophole that allows conformant PDF to be wrong....

And of course Adobe needs to be pushing people to not do old-style PDF whenever possible. There isn't nearly enough of that pushing going on.

In the meantime, articles like this one give me hope. Well, a little bit, at least!

Anyone know where that ISO standard is being discussed, exactly? :-)

Michael S. Kaplan on 29 Sep 2010 7:03 AM:

Of course threads like this one also give me hope, since it means smart people are having the conversation. :-)

Tom Gewecke on 29 Sep 2010 10:54 AM:

Great series of articles -- I'm keeping a list in my own blog:

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