Duff Johnson: First Impressions of Acrobat 7.0

One of the pioneers introducing PDF to the enterprise, Duff Johnson founded Document Solutions, Inc. in 1996 to leverage the power of the then-emerging PDF format in publishing and business communications. From MultiResolution processing to innovative content interfaces, Document Solutions, Inc. has developed scores of PDF technology solutions for publishing, manufacturing, service and government clients worldwide. A visionary promoter of the PDF format at seminars and trade-shows, Johnson now lends his expertise to Planet PDF as a Contributing Editor to advance understanding of the place, power and potential of electronic documents and the increasingly important role for PDF in the modern enterprise.

Going hand-in-hand with his role as an evangelist of PDF in the enterprise, Johnson is also inevitably become familiar with the intricacies of Accessibility and Section 508 compliance. So much so, in fact, that he has written a Learning Center on the topic, and helps clients achieve compliance and usability through his work with Document Solutions.

I recently caught up with him to ask about his first impressions of the Acrobat 7.0 product family, and his responses were interesting to say the least… The full interview text follows.

DAN SHEA, Planet PDF Associate Editor: In your opinion, what is the best thing about the new Acrobat 7.0 product family?

DUFF JOHNSON, Principal, Document Solutions, Inc.: The single best thing about the new Acrobat is the emergence of explicit links between server and desktop. By making users aware of the possibilities in Reader Extensions and of tools such as the Policy Server, Adobe may finally begin to access the enormous leveraging power implied by the ubiquity of Reader.

It’s pretty obvious that Adobe has dramatically boosted the Acrobat/PDF development budget. I suspect that development resources are now commensurate with Acrobat’s significance in terms of projected revenue growth for Adobe. Acrobat is now a truly vast program, less a toolbox and more of a colossal workshop.

SHEA: What are 2-3 cool features of the new releases (big or small)?

JOHNSON:

  • Allowing Reader users to add comments is just the bomb. And it’s just the beginning.
  • The new Organizer is crude, but represents an interesting move. If this tool turns out to have any real-world appeal, watch for Adobe to further smooth PDF creation functions to really integrate the end-products of scanning, conversion from Word and PDFs created elsewhere. If Adobe could craft a simple yet effective electronic document creation-and-archive system in the next generation of Organizer, Acrobat would have a shot at the desktop document management (PaperPort et al.) market as well!
  • Image-enhancement features alongside OCR, built right into the scanning interface. Hmm… ScanSoft, look out!

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About the Author: Dan Shea

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