How Important Is Acrobat 5?--McIlroy
The implications of PDF's incorporation of the XML standard are more difficult to evaluate. At first glance, PDF's relatively closed structure appears to be completely at odds with XML's far-reaching vocabulary and functionality.
XML is designed to turn mere documents into micro-structured, database-driven information repositories. Can XML-encoding within a PDF capsule offer users the best of both worlds? Will we be able to access PDF's secure and graphically strong power, and extend that to XML's multifunctional capacities? If a document is encoded with XML, can PDF still add significant value?
It will be many months before the answer is 100 percent clear. I suspect that the sum of the parts is profoundly powerful documents. Adobe has rewritten the Acrobat and PDF value equation, and the results are worth watching.
About the Author
Thad McIlroy is a San Francisco-based electronic publishing consultant and author, and serves as program director of Seybold Seminars. He welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.