A PDF Progress Report --McIlroy
But what does that really tell any of us about the two dozen other systems? That they don't work? No, that's too strong a statement. That they don't work as well as Creo's and OneVision's system? No, it only says that for this particular set of rigorous test files, with this particular set of judges, Creo and OneVision outperformed. The rest is highly speculative.
As the report's writer admits, "one conclusion became inescapable: PDF workflows are highly vulnerable to human error…we estimated that the overall scores were 2 percent to 10 percent lower than they could have been, due only to human error."
What's most valuable in the study is the recognition that (a.) there are a lot more systems available for processing PDF files than Acrobat, Prinergy and Apogee, and that (b.) not all systems are created equally—some perform better in certain areas than others, and generally for a good reason.
For the printer, you're faced with the usual choices. Buy the name brand and get on with it, relatively confident that it will do the job you want. Or investigate the full range of choices out there, knowing there is probably another system just a little more suited to your workflow (and budget).
In my next column I'll look at the second half of the report, which examines what users are doing with PDF files.
About the Author
Thad McIlroy is an electronic publishing consultant and analyst, based at Arcadia House in San Francisco. He welcomes your comments at email@example.com.