Is the Adobe PDF Library a ‘He’?

Is the Adobe PDF Library a ‘He’?

Last week, we hosted PDF Camp in our hometown of Chicago. This event gave customers a chance to discuss the Adobe PDF Library (APDFL), PDF issues in general, and deep dive into code with our onsite developers. While it was a great event focused on customers, there was a tiny observation I made that really caught my attention.

While I was listening to one of our seasoned Datalogics developers talking about the Library, he referred to APDFL as “he” in every conversation: “He is capable of…”, “He can manage fonts with…” I chuckled at the human reference to a software API that allows developers to work effectively with PDFs. And yet, as I started thinking about it, I began to wonder if giving the Library a human pronoun isn’t, in fact, a great description after all.

  • The SDK is a low-level PDF library that contains a powerful set of native APIs, and is the same Library used in Acrobat. A standard, over 1200 pages long, was inspired by this Library of tools.  Like a human, it is deep and rich with complexity, and just as difficult to understand sometimes.
  • It wears a lot of different hats, there are 14 platforms supported. It can be integrated into a wide variety of applications and deployment configurations, and in fact, there are rarely two implementations of the Library that are the same.
  • There are many layers to the Library. It can be used simply to manage colors or to optimize PDF documents. It can flatten, redact, manage fonts, and print – it can achieve quite a lot with its capabilities.
  • With the multi-threading capabilities we are working on, the SDK will be capable of multi-tasking and doing things faster and more efficiently.
  • With optimization, the Library makes PDFs files compact and streamlined.

So, it is no wonder that this developer referred to the Library as a living breathing thing rather than an it. Unfortunately, I think he got the pronoun wrong, with all that multi-tasking, wearing many hats and complexity, I think the Library is probably a she!

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