In a few months, Datalogics will be celebrating 50 years in business. It’s a huge accomplishment for a company to weather the changes in cultural direction, growing pains and the explosion of technology that has occurred during our tenure. To last this long, you either adapt or die.
It occurred to me that the PDF has also undergone it’s own metamorphosis. The original intent was to “capture documents from any application, send electronic versions of these documents anywhere, and view and print these documents on any machine” (John Warnock). But today, a PDF can both simulate the visual output of a piece of paper, contain intricate and interactive 3D models used as blueprints for heavy machinery, and can even be a living form, feeding a database information. After 24 years, the PDF is still going through its own growing pains, and we continue to wonder how the PDF can stay relevant. There are traditionalists who do not want to see PDF grow beyond its original intent (interoperable, portable, reliable) and there are those who want to see PDF evolve to keep up with today’s document demands, like being able to compete with EPUB or Portable Web Publications.
So the question is: has PDF become so successful and widely adopted that it can no longer support its current user base?