Wearable PDF?

Image from Flickr by Antonio Zugaldia

Image from Flickr by Antonio Zugaldia

With the recent announcement of the Apple Watch, I’ve been thinking about wearables. In particular, I’ve been thinking about the possible interface between wearables and PDF development. Honestly, I think the likely uses are few and limited — but still potentially important.

As I see it, there are two major limitations that limit the utility of PDF applications in wearable technology: form factor and interface. The first is simply a product of wearability. A watch screen simply isn’t all that big. The Google Glass, which displays the equivalent of a 25″ high-def screen at a distance of 8 feet, has other problems. Glass has spawned concerns about privacy (it can discreetly shoot video or snap photos), and fears that it will constitute an obvious badge of membership for “an affluent tech elite”. Indeed, the public testers of Glass, known as explorers, have already been targeted in several attacks, and have been encouraged by Google itself to avoid being “glassholes”.

My main point, though, is that wearables generally feature small screens that just aren’t that great for consuming the traditional, paginated content for which PDF is so well suited. Glass, which solves the form factor problem, may turn out to be a non-starter if too few people are willing to be seen wearing it.

The second problem is interface. In order to be wearable, devices need to be small, which leaves limited room for an interface. Even touch screens become less usable if you can barely move your finger around on them. The new Digital Crown in the Apple Watch simplifies zooming and (vertical) scrolling somewhat, but isn’t really designed to facilitate full viewing of paginated documents, let alone editing and creation.

Image from Flickr by samwebster

Image from Flickr by samwebster

Where I think wearables and PDF play most happily together is in the ticketing and digital pass/card spaces. If you could just display a PDF pass with a QR code from your watch, that would be a great example of PDF and wearable working together to make life easier. Really, isn’t that what it’s all about in the end?

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Debenu Quick PDF Library 11.13 Beta 1

Debenu Quick PDF Library 11.13 Beta 1 has been released and is ready for downloading and testing.  The 11.13 Beta 1 installer can be downloaded from the button below.

Download Debenu Quick PDF Library

Release Notes

Bug fixes

  • Fixed text extraction bounding box issues with CVision OCR’d PDF’s
  • Fine tuning of underlined fonts and the underline thickness for EMF
  • Fixed a regression issue in NormalizePage with CropBoxes
  • Fixed GetPageImageList exporting 8-bit CMYK images
  • Fixed a font rendering issue with a true type font
  • Fixed Arc rendering routines when angle was greater than 180 degrees
  • Improved importing of EMF font mappings when not embedding fonts
  • Fixed linearization issue with encrypted files
  • Fixed linearization issue that caused incomplete files on output

Upgrading To Version 11

If you are still using version 7, 8, 9 or 10 and would like to upgrade visit this page:

Feedback! Any feedback large or small is appreciated. We’ll shortly be planning the next round of exciting new features for Debenu Quick PDF Library, so we’d really like to know what you want to see added to the SDK. Don’t be shy, email us and have your say.

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The Female Technologist: Someone Has to be First

While I’m happy to be a unicorn, I do often think about why there aren’t more women in tech, or even why we seem to be underrepresented in the wheeling-and-dealing world of start-ups and entrepreneurship. One reason that has been suggested is that there aren’t all that many of us already in tech/entrepreneurship/any male-dominated industry. Specific objections can revolve around concerns that there aren’t enough potential female peers or mentors in a given sector. The biggest problem with this is that it makes the status quo self-sustaining. Someone has to be first. Perhaps one answer is that, if you can’t find a female mentor, be one.

As I noted in my earlier post, Debenu’s head programmer is female. What I didn’t mention is that I aggressively pursued her for the post. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not as though she was previously making her living by weaving baskets, singing arias or working as CFO of a fortune 500 company — although I’m sure she could do any of those things if she put her mind to them. She was already a seasoned software developer. I just thought she was working for the wrong company (i.e., not ours). Together, we set up Debenu’s main development office. She now manages that site, providing supervision and guidance to both male and female team members.

Our story isn’t unique, but it is unusual. Some day, the story of two women collaborating to help build a tech business might be so common as to be boring, that day isn’t today. As for mentorship, I have just joined an organization that provides investment capital, advice and support to entrepreneurs of both genders and from various industries. Someone might have to be first, but we needn’t be the last.

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Why You Need PDF Aerialist for Print: It Does What Acrobat Can’t (Imposition)

PDF is a perfect fit for print workflows. It’s hardly surprising, though. From the very start, PDF was designed with printing in mind, and it supports all sorts of fancy things like page fidelity, self-containment (e.g., via embedded fonts and images), device-independent color. For quite a while now, Acrobat Professional has also included a collection of specialized features for printing. While the breadth of Acrobat’s print-related functionality has grown across successive versions, there’s one key area that Acrobat doesn’t directly address at all: imposition.

To explain what that is, I’ll start by quoting the very helpful Wikipedia page on the topic:

Imposition … [is] the arrangement of … pages on the printer’s sheet, in order to obtain faster printing, simplify binding and reduce paper waste. Correct imposition minimizes printing time by maximizing the number of pages per impression, reducing cost of press time and materials. To Achieve this, the printed sheet must be filled as fully as possible.

Thanks, Wikipedia! So then, in its absolute simplest form, a key point of imposition is to fit multiple pages on each sheet for printing. With many commercial printing methods, changing the content to be printed means physically changing the plate or equivalent. That means that, the more pages you can fit on a single plate/sheet, the fewer times you need to change the plates, and the more efficient your print run.

The number of sheets per page isn’t the only consideration, though. The placement and organization of pages should also be informed by the stitching method, grain of the printing substrate (e.g., type of paper), and intended finishing and binding methods.

It’s crucial to get imposition right. Done properly, imposition facilitates stitching, finishing and binding, minimizes waste, and maximizes efficiency. Since Acrobat Pro can’t help with this, having no imposition features and all, where can you turn? As the title of this post implies, this is where Aerialist comes in.

Debenu PDF Aerialist offers a full set of imposition functionality. Using it, you can repeat pages to print business cards or labels (step and repeat), turn regular, sequential PDFs into books or booklets that are ready for binding (2-up, 4-up, N-up), re-size, shuffle or rotate media (i.e., pages), and optimize projects for specific printing processes.

PDF and Acrobat Professional offer good support for print workflows, but there is still a substantial functional gap — a gap that is filled when Acrobat is paired with the imposition functionality of Debenu PDF Aerialist. You don’t need to take my word for it, though. Check out the free trial to see for yourself.

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Debenu Quick PDF Library 11.12 Released

The final version of Debenu Quick PDF Library 11.12 has been released and is ready for download from our product updates page.

This new version is full of new functions, enhancements and bug fixes and we recommend that all customers upgrade to it to take advantage of the improvements. Visit the product updates page to download this new version and see a full list of the changes.

Download 11.12 from our Product Updates page

Version 11.12 Highlights

  • Bug fixes for Linearization
  • Fixed import of TIFF images with the strips are also tiles
  • Fixed NormalizePoge to not process Annots when Page rotation is already 0 degrees
  • Fixed TPDFIndObj.Decode to correctly decode PDF attachments
  • Fixed rendering of a malformed Type1 font
  • Fixed rendering of line thikness on certain PDF’s
  • Fixed autosubsetting of fonts with DrawHTMLText in certain cases
  • Fixed combobox issue
  • Fixed DrawEllipticArc and EMFArc importing issues

Upgrading

Debenu Quick PDF Library 11 is a major new version of the product which means that the upgrade process is different from the minor version upgrade process, namely, upgrades are not free unless you meet certain requirements.

Free upgrades

Customers who purchased version 10 of Debenu Quick PDF Library on or after the 10th of July, 2014 (within 60 days of version 11’s release) or who own an active Premium Upgrade Protection subscription are eligible for free upgrades from version 10 to version 11.

Contact our sales team if you fall into this category and we’ll help you out.

Purchase an upgrade

An upgrade from version 10 or earlier versions to version 11 can be purchased at a discount (starting price is $269.00) through our online store. Users can upgrade their Single Developer, Multiple Developer or Source Code licenses to version 11. It’s also possible to purchase Premium Upgrade Protection with your upgrade purchase.

For example, if you own a Single Developer License + Standard Upgrade Protection for version 10 of Debenu Quick PDF Library then you will need to purchase the Single Developer Upgrade License + Standard Upgrade Protection (10.x to 11.x) product in order to upgrade to version 11 — though you can choose to buy the Premium Upgrade Protection version of that product if you prefer.

Feedback

As always we’d love to hear your thoughts on the new version of Debenu Quick PDF Library. If you have any questions, comments or general feedback, please let us know.

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Debenu PDF Viewer SDK 11.12 Released

The final version of Debenu PDF Viewer SDK 11.12.0.1 has been released and is ready for download from our product updates page.

This new version is full of new functions, enhancements and bug fixes and we recommend that all customers upgrade to it to take advantage of the improvements. Visit the product updates page to download this new version and see a full list of the changes.

Download 11.12 from our Product Updates page

Version 11.12 Highlights

  • Fixed flickering issue with component
  • Fixed mouse cursor flicker
  • Scrolling fix when changing window size in Fit Zoom mode
  • Page rendering glitch fix when resizing window
  • Search text now changes view position to show search result on page
  • Added wait cursor on search and open file routines

Try the new version

A full list of the changes in Debenu PDF Viewer SDK 11 can be found on our product updates page. You can also download a 30 day limitation-free trial version of the library.

Upgrading

Debenu PDF Viewer SDK 11 is a major new version of the product which means that the upgrade process is different from the minor version upgrade process, namely, upgrades are not free unless you meet certain requirements.

Free upgrades

Customers who purchased version 11 of Debenu PDF Viewer SDK on or after the 10th of July, 2014 (within 60 days of version 11’s release) or who own an active Premium Upgrade Protection subscription are eligible for free upgrades from version 10 to version 11.

Contact our sales team if you fall into this category and we’ll help you out.

Purchase an upgrade

An upgrade from version 10 to version 11 can be purchased at a discount (starting price is $210.00) through our online store. Users can upgrade their Single Developer or Multiple Developer licenses to version 11. It’s also possible to purchase Premium Upgrade Protection with your upgrade purchase.

For example, if you own a Single Developer License + Standard Upgrade Protection for version 10 of Debenu PDF Viewer SDK then you will need to purchase the Single Developer Upgrade License + Standard Upgrade Protection (11.x to 12.x) product in order to upgrade to version 11 -— though you can choose to buy the Premium Upgrade Protection version of that product if you prefer.

Feedback

As always we’d love to hear your thoughts on the new version of Debenu PDF Viewer SDK. If you have any questions, comments or general feedback, please let us know.

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Bytes and Bobs: What is Agile Development?

Here at Debenu, we make developer products (among others) through software development. In a lot of ways, that means that Debenu and our developer community are peers as well as having the traditional vendor-client relationship. By virtue of that unusual relationship, we are in a position to learn from our clients, as are they from us. In particular, our internal processes can potentially be quite relevant to our customers (and vice versa).

We do our darndest to run an efficient, capital-A Agile workflow (specifically, we favor Scrum. So, why didn’t I just say that we “do” Agile development? Well, the term is both popular and frequently misunderstood. Some (perhaps many) companies claim to be Agile, but for one reason or another haven’t implemented key features of Agile development practices. We don’t claim to be getting it completely “right” (we’re not sure that we are), but we do like the basic principles, and have found a system that works for us. Often, a certain amount of compromise ensues as soon as the tyres hit the tarmac, so to speak, and we don’t think we’re an exception to that. Anyway, I thought it might be helpful to start writing a series of posts about how we work here at Debenu.

First up, what is Agile? In general, Agile methodologies are focused on short cycles of iterative development. Planning, design, development, integration, testing and deployment are all completed by small, cross-functional teams, and within a flat, collaborative organizational structure.

In Scrum at least, each iteration (or “sprint”) should finish with a potentially shippable increment of a product. That’s a bit of a mouthful, but essentially that means you need to finish each sprint with some working software. Early iterations should work, but they’ll be thin on the feature front. In fact, the first iteration might only have one feature, but that feature ought to function correctly.

The idea is that the final product can be built in vertical slices, a few features at a time. Between iterations, reactions should be solicited from the team and relevant stakeholders such as clients, and this feedback can then be used to drive the next round of development.

Agile methodologies are typically contrasted with conventional “Waterfall” methods, characterized by discrete, sequential development cycles. Each phase might be conducted by a different team, and there is generally no working prototype available until near the end of the release cycle.

I won’t speak about them in great detail, other than to point out that Waterfall methods seek to anticipate needs and challenges before anyone can use the software. As such, many functional problems can only be identified very late in the process. If the client sees a prototype and wants to change direction (for example, due to a miscommunication about functional needs), then the team needs to return to an earlier phase in the development cycle to fix the problem.

There are quite a few approaches to implementing Agile development practices, including Scrum, which is the one we favor here at Debenu. In future posts, I plan to describe some of them and talk about how we have structured our own development processes.

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Planet PDF Maintenance

Planet PDF logoPlanet PDF is currently down for scheduled maintenance while we update the server hardware that is used to run the website. During this time you will be unable to access the content on the main Planet PDF website, however, the Planet PDF Forum will still be accessible and active.

We apologize for any inconvenience this causes to you. Leave a comment if you would like to be notified once Planet PDF is back online or if you have a question that we might be able to assist you with.

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Debenu PDF Viewer SDK 11 Released

Along with the update to the library, we’re proud to announce a major update to its companion product, Debenu PDF Viewer SDK 11. The focus in building the new version was to improve the ability to quickly navigate through PDF files using search, thumbnails and bookmarks.

Like the original, version 11 is appropriate for Windows and Server development, and features various new features, along with a range of general performance upgrades and bug fixes.

What’s new

  • Full text search
  • Built-in thumbnails and bookmarks pane
  • Gain/lose focus events
  • Mouse click events added for returning PDF coordinates
  • Native OS styles used for scrollbars
  • Improved scroll zooming
  • Usability enhancements and bug fixes
  • Full list of changes

Try the new version

A full list of the changes in Debenu PDF Viewer SDK 11 can be found on our product updates page. You can also download a 30 day limitation-free trial version of the library.

Upgrading

Debenu PDF Viewer SDK 11 is a major new version of the product which means that the upgrade process is different from the minor version upgrade process, namely, upgrades are not free unless you meet certain requirements.

Free upgrades

Customers who purchased version 11 of Debenu PDF Viewer SDK on or after the 10th of July, 2014 (within 60 days of version 11’s release) or who own an active Premium Upgrade Protection subscription are eligible for free upgrades from version 10 to version 11.

Contact our sales team if you fall into this category and we’ll help you out.

Purchase an upgrade

An upgrade from version 10 to version 11 can be purchased at a discount (starting price is $210.00) through our online store. Users can upgrade their Single Developer or Multiple Developer licenses to version 11. It’s also possible to purchase Premium Upgrade Protection with your upgrade purchase.

For example, if you own a Single Developer License + Standard Upgrade Protection for version 10 of Debenu PDF Viewer SDK then you will need to purchase the Single Developer Upgrade License + Standard Upgrade Protection (10.x to 11.x) product in order to upgrade to version 11 -— though you can choose to buy the Premium Upgrade Protection version of that product if you prefer.

Feedback

As always we’d love to hear your thoughts on the new version of Debenu PDF Viewer SDK. If you have any questions, comments or general feedback, please let us know.

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Debenu Quick PDF Library 11 Released

We’re excited to announce the release of Debenu Quick PDF Library 11. Some major areas of focus in building this new version were optimizing the portability and performance of online PDF viewing. We’ve also added support for the latest versions of popular development environments like Delphi XE7.

As befits a major update, version 11 of our PDF developer library for Windows, Mac and Server development represents an important step forward, and features a range of new functions and enhancements.

What’s new

  • Delphi XE7 support
  • Linearization (Fast Web View)
  • Render page to clip
  • Relative link support
  • 49 enhancements, bug fixes and features
  • Full list of changes

Try the new version

A full list of the changes in Debenu Quick PDF Library 11 can be found on our product updates page. You can also download a 30 day limitation-free trial version of the library.

Upgrading

Debenu Quick PDF Library 11 is a major new version of the product which means that the upgrade process is different from the minor version upgrade process, namely, upgrades are not free unless you meet certain requirements.

Free upgrades

Customers who purchased version 10 of Debenu Quick PDF Library on or after the 10th of July, 2014 (within 60 days of version 11’s release) or who own an active Premium Upgrade Protection subscription are eligible for free upgrades from version 10 to version 11.

Contact our sales team if you fall into this category and we’ll help you out.

Purchase an upgrade

An upgrade from version 10 or earlier versions to version 11 can be purchased at a discount (starting price is $269.00) through our online store. Users can upgrade their Single Developer, Multiple Developer or Source Code licenses to version 11. It’s also possible to purchase Premium Upgrade Protection with your upgrade purchase.

For example, if you own a Single Developer License + Standard Upgrade Protection for version 10 of Debenu Quick PDF Library then you will need to purchase the Single Developer Upgrade License + Standard Upgrade Protection (10.x to 11.x) product in order to upgrade to version 11 -— though you can choose to buy the Premium Upgrade Protection version of that product if you prefer.

Feedback

As always we’d love to hear your thoughts on the new version of Debenu Quick PDF Library. If you have any questions, comments or general feedback, please let us know.

Posted in Debenu Quick PDF Library, News, Releases | Tagged | Leave a comment