Adobe’s Portable Document Format: The Document Standard for Publishing’s Future

July 1998
by C. Scott Miller, author of the PDF Research Compan

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The biggest challenge (and incidentally, the biggest opportunity) for publishers and printers in the next decade is dealing prudently with the rapid changes in publishing technology. To add some urgency to the matter, the rate of change is accelerating. The major milestones of publishing technology evolution have been separated by ever-shortening time spans-Gutenberg’s letterpress to photolithography (450 years), photolithography to desktop publishing (50 years), desktop publishing to Web publishing (10 years). And in the next five years, we’ll see the implementation of new publishing products and services as a result of broadband Web servers, fiber optic networks, Digital Versatile Discs (DVD), and High Definition Television (HDTV). Every innovation offers new efficiencies in distribution, lower overhead costs, better access to information, and new cross-marketing potential. Consequently the demand for repurposing published work and legacy documents has been skyrocketing. With rapid evolution being the norm, the challenges before publishers are many. Aside from the obvious copyright and merchandising issues that need to be faced, there is one practical issue that is important to all publishers: Which document format provides the best distribution efficiencies and the broadest range of uses, while reducing the cost of repurposing documents now and in the future? A clue to the answer can be found in digital publishing’s recent history: Flashback to 1986 . . . Apple,…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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