Thursday, May 29, 2008

Adobe updates PDF Print Engine and continues to concentrate on Flash

drupa has now officially started and Adobe have announced the second version of the PDF Print Engine. The first version was announced at IPEX in 2006. Barney Cox in Printweek has emphasised the variable data aspect.

There is still no news about MARS, the possible rewrite of PDF as even more friendly for XML. This is a bit of a problem for any informed discussion. There are any number of ways to connect PDF and XML but if there is some development possible it would be useful to know about it. Probably being saved up for a suitable occasion. But many sensible companies such as Heidelberg and Xerox just keep their customers more or less informed most of the time. The MARS blog has not been updated in 2008. So far.

Meanwhile Adobe are still promoting Flash and AIR, more or less avoiding PDF and Postscript most of the time. Shantanu Narayan is interviewed in Forbes about the "ubiquitous upside" - "We're everywhere, but we're not pushy about it"- and hardly mentions the printed page. Kevin Lynch, Chief Technology Officer, recently told Knowledge at Wharton-

We think there's a big shift of software development to the web and that this is going to affect software companies in general. Just like the Internet has transformed the media industry or the e-commerce industry, the software industry is also being affected dramatically by the Internet.

The questions include mention of Silverlight from Microsoft. There is no space for the XML Paper Specification (XPS) as featured in the drupa Innovation Parc.

This background suggests that the technology around Postscript and PDF is no longer of much interest as software. Another indication is that Apple have not taken any space at drupa 2008. I have put a comment about this on the Printweek blog so if I have got my facts wrong the official publishers of the show daily will surely correct me over the next week or so.

Apple are concentrating on mobile devices, sound and moving images. Similar concerns to where Adobe is heading, even if they cannot agree on Flash for the phone.

The screenshot is from the Adobe homepage today. The Print Engine is not included in News here, just as a press release. So the web world is still on Flickr and betas of the next Dreamweaver.

People from print companies should spend some time in the dip to study how print survives as part of communications, mostly organised around the Web.


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