PDF Files

Writing by on Tuesday, 30 of October , 2007 at 12:11 am

My Operating Systems professor at Ohio University (a big Microsoft basher) told us, “In the real world, there are just 3 ways to send documents PDF, PostScript and TXT. Thats how I’m going to accept your assignments. And extra points to those who submit their homework in PostScript. I don’t read DOC files.” Hmm… that tone sound familiar? I loved Microsoft Office since it was quick and easy to use, and it was installed in the labs but free PDF Creators weren’t so common, nor could I afford a PDF software like Adobe Acrobat so that was out of question, TXT did not support images so I used LaTeX and submitted my assignments in PS. And boy, was that painful?

These days, PDFs can be created so easily and no wonder why they’re so popular. Here are some of the advantages of PDF files that make me a big fan.

  • Simplicity– One single document holds it all, as opposed to HTML which needs images, stylesheets, scripts etc.
  • Multi-platform – The same document can be viewed on Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris etc. and look exactly the same.
  • “Read Only” – Cannot be altered without leaving an electronic footprint. As opposed to images that can be easily altered.
  • Consistent – Preserve information like text, drawings, fonts, color graphics, photos regardless of the applications used to create them
  • Searchable – Full-text support for keywords.
  • Interactive – Can be used as Forms for user input as used by US Government for IRS Forms, USCIS, etc.
  • Extensible – Generated programmatically for PDF based business solutions like Investor Statements etc.
  • Secure – Allow digital signatures and password protection.

The PDF is the de facto standard for secure and dependable electronic exchange and used by industries and governments worldwide. Its a sensation in the printing world.

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Shivdev Kalambi's Blog

Shivdev Kalambi is a Software Development Manager, previously a Principal Software Engineer at ArcSight/HP. With over 16 years' experience in software development, he's worked on several technologies and played different roles and contributed to all phases of projects. Non-tech activies include Ping-pong, Rock Climbing and Yoga at PG, Golf, Skiing, Swimming & a beer enthusiast.