Planet PDF CEO reflects on Orlando PDF conference

Editor’s Note:
Formerly CEO of Planet PDF, Karl De Abrew is now the CEO of Debenu ( — maker of the Quick PDF Library (formerly iSEDQuickPDF | QuickPDF) (, a powerful royalty-free PDF developer SDK, and Benubird Pro, the easy-to-use personal document management system.

As I write this, we’re halfway through the AGI’s latest PDF Conference — 14 sessions in total across three tracks covering all manner of topics across the areas of general Acrobat/PDF, forms, print production, JavaScript, archiving and more.

And that was just today.

It’s my third time in Florida in 12 months covering PDF for Planet PDF. Twice in Orlando along with AGI’s Christopher Smith, Mickey, Donald and the gang and once in Miami, along with Stephan ‘Miami Vice’ Jaeggi. You know — I’m almost surprised that The Walt Disney Company hasn’t started work on a new theme park down here called ‘PDF World’.

After attending about five PDF-specific conferences per year for the last 8 years or so, I can genuinely say that I’m really very impressed at level of efficiency that these events have built up. In the old days, it used to take 3 or 4 days with a considerable number of presenters to cover the majority of topics, but having a team of experts like Ted Padova, Leonard Rosenthol, Thom Parker and Dov Isaacs on-board makes covering seemingly complex topics an absolute breeze.

As for me, I’ve spent the day sitting through a variety of sessions, talking to attendees, exhibitors and the like — really trying to get a feel for what the big news is right now with PDF.

Here’s my list of the top few things to check out right now:

  1. PDF2Office Professional — I spent a good hour or so in a one-to-one with Paul Chadha, Recosoft Corporation’s Director of Engineering and I was extremely impressed with its cross platform (yes, Mac too!) PDF to PowerPoint and Word converter. Recosoft is a 40-person strong Japanese company that has spent some serious time and effort engineering a serious — but very easy to use — tool for accurate PDF to something converters. Visit for more information.
  2. Emprint Missourian, Columbia, Missouri — if you’d like to see a really impressive demonstration of a PDF that sports a user interface that Jacob Nielsen would be proud of, drop by this site. Roger F. Fidler, Director of Technology Initiatives at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, University of Missouri-Columbia, has spent many years working on the interface and, titles aside, you definitely want to download a copy of his digital newspaper. Roger also introduced me to my next hot item.
  3. My jaw nearly hit the ground when I saw one of the Planet PDF’s Project Gutenberg eBooks displayed in a prototype version of an iLiad ER0100 from iRex Technology — an offshoot from Royal Philips Electronics, located on the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. As you may or may not know, Planet PDF was quite involved in the eBook world back in 2000/2001 and even ran a sister site which is still available in archive form called Planet eBook. I really recommend that you drop by iRex’s Web site and take a look at their device, I’ve heard (but can’t confirm) that it’s going to be selling for a few hundred US dollars per unit.

    src=’’ width=’400′ height=’300′
    alt=’Prototype iLiad ER0100.’>

    Figure 1. Digital classics: Aesop’s Fables on a prototype iLiad ER0100.

  4. — Planet PDF offers a friendly salute to the Acrobat-focused User Community (focused on mostly Acrobat only solutions, hence the name) sponsored by Adobe and with former Planet PDF Editor Kurt Foss at its helm.

To help get a feel for the event, the helpful folks at AGI, which is behind the conference, have posted some images from the event.

So, what else is making people tick? The seminar sessions are top-notch, but as yet, as our good buddy Don Fluckinger of PDFzone pointed out there’s been no official word on Acrobat 8 at the event. That said, it seems like there’s an awful lot in the pipeline from speaking to a host of developers. My guess is that a lot of third-party developers are waiting to see what Adobe’s next release of Acrobat is going to bring, so we can likely expect a flurry of activity once Adobe opens that door.

There’s definitely a growing sense of anticipation — what will be the impact of Microsoft’s upcoming Office 12 with its built-in PDF export? Will Adobe release Acrobat 8 (Acrobat what??) in Q4 2006? How will Macromedia/Adobe merger impact on Acrobat & PDF in the long run as per the effects of Apollo and Breeze Flash (and what else is to come)?

Excuse me while I scrape my jaw off the floor (umm, again) but I’ve also heard a number of pretty significant rumors today which will leave you gobsmacked — but for that you’ll need to wait for tomorrow as I’m still waiting for an official response from Adobe.

Tomorrow is another day, and I’ll be running the PDF Power Panel — a high-intensity 30 minute session where attendees will get a chance to have all their PDF questions answered. If they manage to stump the panel (come on, I dare you!) Adobe has kindly offered to provide a free copy of Adobe Reader. Can’t say fairer than that! More from me tomorrow.

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About the Author: Karl De Abrew

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