Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format used to present documents in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating system. Each PDF file encapsulates a complete description of a fixed-layout flat document, including the text, fonts, graphics, and other information needed to display it. In 1991, Adobe Systems co-founder John Warnock outlined a system called “Camelot” that evolved into PDF.
PDF was developed in the early 1990s as a way to share documents, including text formatting and inline images, among computer users of disparate platforms who may not have access to mutually-compatible application software. It was among a number of competing formats such as DjVu (still developing), Envoy, Common Ground Digital Paper, Farallon Replica and even Adobe’s own PostScript format (.ps). In those early years before the rise of the World Wide Web and HTML documents, PDF was popular mainly in desktop publishing workflows.
PDF’s adoption in the early days of the format’s history was slow. Adobe Acrobat, Adobe’s suite for reading and creating PDF files, was not freely available; early versions of PDF had no support for external hyperlinks, reducing its usefulness on the Internet; the larger size of a PDF document compared to plain text required longer download times over the slower modems common at the time; and rendering PDF files was slow on the less powerful machines of the day.
nown in PDF syntax terms as “PDF-2.0″, ISO 32000-2 will be the first update to the PDF specification developed entirely within the ISO Committee process (TC 171 SC 2 WG 8). Publication of ISO 32000-2 is expected in 2015. Interested parties resident in TC 171 Member or Observer countries and wishing to participate should contact their country’s Member Body or the secretary of TC 171 SC 2. Members of the PDF Association may review and comment on drafts via the PDF Association’s Category A liaison with ISO TC 171 SC 2.