This week in PDF: Adobe announces Acrobat 9, Acrobat.com and Adobe PDF Print Engine 2

This week in PDF has seen the demonstration of a next-generation RIP and a flurry of major announcements from Adobe Systems, including the public beta release of its suite of hosted services.

First up, Harlequin has debuted its latest multi-format RIP at Drupa. Not only does the new version process PDF files, it can also natively process XPS (XML Paper Specification) and PostScript, making it the only RIP in its class to do so.

‘We are the first to market with support for XPS because we believe that it will become important for some sectors of professional printing just as we knew the PDF format would be when we introduced native processing of PDF files into the Harlequin RIP in 1997,’ says Martin Bailey, chief technology officer, Global Graphics. ‘We want to ensure our customers don’t need to worry about how they receive files from their customers, and how they need to process those files. Some sites want to use high-quality PDF and others still need PostScript. Some segments of the industry will need XPS especially in-plants and print shops who undertake corporate printing.’

The new Harlequin RIP adds support for PDF 1.7 and PDF/X-4. For more, check out the official Global Graphics web site.

Elsewhere in the PDF world, Adobe has released the newest version of its flagship Acrobat product family, a new PDF print engine, and the public beta of its new Acrobat.com site.

The expected big news was Adobe’s announcement of Acrobat 9, a major version upgrade to its flagship software for creating and manipulating PDF documents. The new version will deliver native support for Flash, the ability to unify a wide range of content in rich PDF Portfolios, and access to real-time PDF document collaboration. This last functionality is facilitated by the contemporaneous release of the Acrobat.com public beta.

According to the official press release:

Acrobat 9 provides access to capabilities for collaborating live within a PDF document-enabled by working with Acrobat.com, a new suite of hosted services. … For example, a salesperson could use Acrobat 9 to send a lengthy contract to clients. The sales professional, or any of the recipients using Adobe Reader (1), can then drive the group’s navigation through the PDF document in real-time working with Acrobat.com. This helps ensure everyone is literally, and figuratively, on the same page.

Additionally, Acrobat 9 users will gain access to Acrobat.com for storing and sharing files, use as a central location for collecting data as part of a forms process, and to gather comments in a shared document review. Acrobat.com includes other services, such as Adobe ConnectNow, personal Web conferencing that provides desktop sharing, video and voice conferencing, and integrated chat; and Adobe Buzzword, an elegant, Web-based word processor that can be used to easily co-author and share documents for comment and review, creating high-quality print results.

Acrobat.com will also provide Acrobat 9 users with a ‘personal workspace in the clouds,’ available via a browser-based interface. Users of the free Adobe Reader 9 will also be able to use Acrobat.com to fill electronic forms and participate in collaborative document workflows, although they will be limited to five online PDF conversions. For more information, visit Adobe.com or Acrobat.com.

Perhaps overshadowed by Adobe’s other recent releases but no less significant was the release of Adobe’s new Adobe PDF Print Engine. Version 2 enables Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and print providers to deliver variable data printing (VDP) capabilities. Since the 2006 release of Adobe’s original Adobe Print Engine, it has been adopted by the likes of Agfa, FUJIFILM, GMG, Heidelberg, Kodak, Screen, and Xanté. Dalim Software, EFI, Océ Printing and Xerox announced support for the new version this week. For full release details, check out Adobe’s full press release.

That’s it for this week. Watch this space!

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About the Author: Dan Shea

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