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19 Apr. 2018 By Dietrich von Seggern

PDF basics

I frequently hear people saying, "PDF is omnipresent"; then I think that it is in many cases much more: it is essential. It’s truly everywhere around us, from an agreement, an order or a different business document to a digital dossier, from a project documentation to a specification with a drawing for a part ordered by a manufacturer. All these and many more business processes could not exist in the way that they exist if PDF would not be there or significantly different from what it is. And then looking at this widespread use and the importance of the format in today’s processes in almost every industry, it is interesting to note that people contentedly use it without thinking about it in the same way as they would think about e.g. backups, security, reliability of network connection ...

One of the industries which is particularly dependent on PDF is the print industry, where there are no alternatives to define the intended output for the end product. callas software has been developing PDF solutions for this industry since 1997 and for document processes based on PDF since PDF/A was published in 2005. While doing so we had to think a lot about user requirements and the inner nature of PDF. Although we are certain that PDF works great, we also know that the possibilities and limitations in PDF (according to the PDF specification) on the one end, what is easily accessible in PDF solutions (like Adobe Acrobat or Foxit Phantom) on the second and what users and processes need are three distinct groups of features - that have a big overlap but are not always the same.

It is our goal at callas to make PDF features accessible to users that are not accessible otherwise and make it possible to use these features in an automated way. But sometimes, features in PDF work different than what users expect in the first place and then it is good to know more about the "inner nature" of PDF. We have given numerous presentations about certain topics in this area and found out that users were always interested in it, since that makes them understand one part of their "world" better - even if it only helped to understand why a certain problem is so persistent.

And that is exactly why we started this blog. The target audience is everybody using PDF in a professional way, i.e. in processes where it is an essential part. We want to talk about PDF, its internals, demanding use cases, interesting solutions, discussions that we had during our events and how PDF should evolve ... Let’s start right here. Feel free to share and comment and always let us know if you have topics or questions in this area that you want us to touch.

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