Tuesday, January 30, 2007

New FLex-AJAX Libraries on Adobe Labs.

Two new pre-release Flex libraries are going up on labs in the next couple hours:
> Ajax Data Services library http://labs.adobe.com/wiki/index.php/Ajax_Data_Services
> Flex Ajax Bridge (FABridge) update http://labs.adobe.com/wiki/index.php/Flex-Ajax_Bridge

AJAX Data Services is a new JavaScript library that lets you access the powerful messaging and data management capabilities of Flex Data Services directly from JavaScript. With this library, you can integrate application clients built using Ajax technologies with the same back-end data services used by Flex application clients. This means that data from Flex applications can now be automatically synchronized with other Ajax applications, ensuring that both users see the most current, accurate information.

Significant updates have also been made to the Flex-Ajax Bridge (FABridge), which, as you know, allows JavaScript-enabled components to inter operate with Flex-enabled components embedded in the same web page.

Using both FABridge and the new Ajax Data Services library, you can now leverage the full benefits of both the Flex programming model and Flex Data Services, providing full interoperability with existing or new Ajax applications.

Both of these libraries are planned to be added to upcoming versions of Flex Data Services. If you use them, please let us know what you think by leaving a comment here.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

PDF Specification released to AIIM/ISO

Adobe announced it will release the entire PDF specification (current version 1.7) to the International Standards Organization (ISO) via AIIM. PDF has reached a point in it’s maturity cycle where maintaining it in an open standards manner is the next logical step in evolution. Not only does this reinforce Adobe’s commitment to open standards (see also my earlier blog on the release of flash runtime code to the Tamarin open source project at Sourceforge), but it demonstrates that open standards and open source strategies are really becoming a mainstream concept in the software industry.

So what does this really mean? Most people know that PDF is already a standard so why do this now? This event is very subtle yet very significant. PDF will go from being an open standard/specification and defacto standard to a full blown du jure standard. The difference will not affect implementers much given PDF has been a published open standard for years. There are some important distinctions however. First – others will have a clearly documented process for contributing to the future of the PDF specification. That process also clearly documents the path for others to contribute their own Intellectual property for consideration in future versions of the standard. Perhaps Adobe could have set up some open standards process within the company but this would be merely duplicating the open standards process, which we felt was the proper home for PDF. Second, it helps cement the full PDF specification as the umbrella specification for all the other PDF standards under the ISO umbrella such as PDF/A, PDF/X and PDF/E. The move also helps realize the dreams of a fully open web as the web evolves (what some are calling Web 2.0), built upon truly open standards, technologies and protocols. It also makes me immensely proud to be an Adobe Evangelist.

Adobe will continue to work hard to innovate on and around the PDF standard going forward.

I personally want to acknowledge some key individuals who are external to Adobe that were instrumental in the process. Bob Sutor (IBM), James Governor (Redmonk) and Gary Edwards (Open Stack) instilled upon myself and others at Adobe that embracing a course of open standards makes good business sense and is good for the community. Gary, James, Bob – thank you! The talks we had back in May 2005 were an inspiration for me.

To find out more on this, we are also hosting a blogger chat live at 17:00 Pacific Time Monday January 29, 2007 at http://my.adobe.acrobat.com/pdfconversations. If you want to blog about this, please feel free to join in. Space is limited. Leonard Rosenthol has published the history of PDF on his blog at http://www.acrobatusers.com/blogs/leonardr/history-of-pdf-openness. It is very well written and contains lots of supplemental information. The official Adobe FAQ’s are linked from http://www.adobe.com/pdf/release_pdf_faq.html. Last but not least, please leave a comment here and let me know what you think. I read all comments.

Yet another person who thinks they can crack PDF Security

Here we go again. This week, Universe Software announced that they have a tool that can crack security protected PDF documents. I have stopped writing about these types of claims since I debunked all of them by issuing a $500 challenge for anyone who can crack this PDF document in this blog post.

Given this has been live for over one year and not a single person (including those who have claimed they can crack it) has been able to crack it, I would suspect once more that last week's announcement by Universe is also complete bunk. However, I sent them an email and if it is not, they can crack it, post their success here and collect $500 from me.