PDF has been around for some time and is widely used. Lately, with buying Macromedia, Adobeâ€™s strategy towards PDF changes more and more, and IMO not in a good direction. The â€œopenâ€ standard is gradually closed down as Adobe adds features that forces you to buy their software. Anyway, 2007 is going to be interesting for the PDF world:
Microsoft popped up with their XPS which is similar to PDF but based on XML. Thatâ€™s generally a good idea, but I donâ€™t like Microsoft imposing their â€œinterestingâ€ XML-style on us (see WordML). Furthermore, theyâ€™ve reinvented the wheel by defining a completely new graphical XML language instead of leveraging existing standards.
Adobe answered with Mars, an â€œXML-friendly implementation of PDF syntaxâ€. Without going into much detail with either standard, I prefer the Adobe approach because Mars is based on the standards SVG, PNG and JPEG. Theyâ€™ve added only the stuff needed to make a round-trip from and to PDF.
Right now, I wish we had an answer coming from the real open community, something like OpenDocument, but for paged media. But throwing in yet another proposal wonâ€™t help much, I assume. Weâ€™ll have to see what happens and encourage Adobe to keep Mars as open as possible (for example by giving it to the W3C as a better alternative to SVG Print).