Adobe’s PDF format is no longer Adobe’s. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) recently voted to approve PDF as an international document format standard. The vote passed 13-to-one in favor and PDF will become ISO Standard 32000.
Although already somewhat of a default standard, the official seal of approval means the format’s future is no longer in proprietary hands, though of course Adobe does intend to participate in the ISO committees which will oversee the future of PDF and decide what new features to implement.
What makes the news somewhat confusing is that certain subsets of PDF were already ISO approved standards — for instance PDF/Archive (PDF/A) and PDF/Exchange (PDF/X) — but this the first time that the entire PDF specification has run the ISO gauntlet and it means that you needn’t fear proprietary meddling in the future of PDF documents.
What does the future of web markup look like? We get a glimpse of HTML’s next major overhaul in "A Preview of HTML5," an essay published today on A List Apart.
In the essay, Opera Software’s Lachlan Hunt gives an overview of what’s broken with existing markup and what the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) is doing to try to fix it.
The proposed HTML5 specification is the brainchild of the W3C and the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group, commonly known as the WHATWG, pronounced "What working group". This is a group made up of people from Opera, Apple, Mozilla and Microsoft, and its emphasis is on the transformation of the web from a largely static repository for text and images (the web of today) into a platform for interoperable applications far more inviting and easy to develop for than current standards allow.
Last week we told you that the OpenDocument Foundation, one of the many vocal backers of the Open Document Format used by OpenOffice and others, was dropping its support for ODF and instead wanted to push an obscure W3C document spec.
The Foundation’s leader said at the time “ODF is writing itself into history as a meetoo proprietary, application-tied specification with no intention to provide the market requirement of universal interop. ODF is therefore a sideline drama, only useful insofar as it has provided a foil for OOXML.”
I went on to write: “it is nice to see that at least some part of office document debate is actually on the real-world user’s side. After all, most of us really don’t care what format our documents are in as long as all our applications can open them. And right now that sort of cross-application compatibility is little more than a pipe dream.”
However it would appear that my faith in the OpenDocument Foundation was misplaced. The Foundation (which as we’ve noted before, was never officially affiliated with the format) seems to have packed up its bags and disappeared. The website is gone and there’s no word from Sam Hiser on his blog.
So I was wrong. Can I get some mustard for this crow?