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PDF Technical Conference 2015: Program

The PDF Technical Conference 2015 is a unique opportunity to learn about the diverse capabilities and ecosystem of the ISO standardized Portable Document Format.
About the author: The PDF Association staff delivers a vendor-neutral platform for PDF’s stakeholders, facilitating the development of open specifications and ISO standards for PDF technology. The staff are located in Germany, the … Read more

PDF Technical Conference 2015 logoDevelopers working with documents often encounter PDF technology. Although fundamentally a page-description format, PDF has a rich set of features that together have made it the most popular format worldwide for final-form electronic documents.

With 37 sessions over 2 days, the PDF Technical Conference 2015 is packed with practical, actionable information for application and web services developers, interface designers and technical product managers.

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Conference Program

Most sessions are purely educational: no product mentions, no sales pitches. Sponsored sessions (those marked "(s)"), complement the purely educational sessions in that presenters are allowed to discuss their own specific solutions. All sessions are reviewed for quality and appropriateness of content.

Day One focuses on the page - the foundation of PDF technology's core value proposition.

Monday, October 19, 2015 – The Page

Keynote address: Jon Callas, Co-founder and CTO, Silent Circle
Video recording / Description
PDF FoundationsPDF TechnologyPDF's Future
Intro to PDF, Leonard Rosenthol, Adobe Systems
Video recording / Description
Understanding fonts and encodings, François Fernandes , Levigo
Video recording / Description
Intro to EPUB (for PDF developers), Bill McCoy, IDPF
Video recording / Description
Intro to PDF/A, François Fernandes, Levigo
Video recording / Description
Using a RESTful API to Process PDF Forms, Brandon Haugen, Datalogics (s)
Video recording / Description
Tools that Drive the Digital Business, Mike Kadell, ActivePDF (s)
Video recording / Description
A word from.., In under 5 minutes apiece, sponsors summarize their areas of expertise.
Video recording
Intro to PDF/UA, Matthew Hardy, Adobe Systems
Video recording / Description
Programming PDF using web technologies and command line, David van Driessche, Four Pees & Dietrich von Seggern / callas software (s)
Video recording / Description
Understanding PDF at Web Scale, Tiho Bajic, Nitro (s)
Video recording / Description
PDF as a Platform - the Challenge and the Prize, Panel discussion, Moderated by Rick Treitman, Adobe Systems
Video recording / Description
An Introduction to Color in PDF, Patrick Gallot, Datalogics
Video recording / Description
Introducing PDFNetJS: the first complete PDF toolkit for the browser, James Borthwick, PDFTron (s)
Video recording / Description
Tagging page content, Matthew Hardy, Adobe Systems
Video recording / Description
Tagging page content, Matthew Hardy, Adobe Systems
Video recording / Description
Automating quality control in PDF generation and validation, Boris Doubrov, Dual Lab (s)
Video recording / Description

Day Two shifts attention to the document - the concept that PDF embodies - with sessions that explore the power of PDF documents in a variety of operational and business contexts.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015 – The Document

Keynote address: Phil Ydens, VP Engineering, Adobe Systems
Video recording / Description
PDF Best PracticePDF SolutionsPDF's Future
A history of concerns about PDF, Matt Kuznicki, Datalogics
Video recording / Description
Searching PDF: challenges and opportunities, Leonard Rosenthol, Adobe Systems
Video recording / Description
Definitive PDF/A validation: why should developers care? Boris Doubrov, Dual Lab & Duff Johnson, PDF Association
Video recording / Description
PDF documents in HTML5 websites across devices, Francois Fernandes, Levigo (s)
Video recording / Description
A word from... In under 5 minutes apiece, sponsors summarize their areas of expertise.
Video recording
Compression: Ways to squeeze more space from your PDFs, Aaron Schnarr, ActivePDF
Video recording / Description
ZUGFeRD: The e-invoice "cart horse" from Germany, Bruno Lowagie, iText Software
Video recording / Description
Creating structured PDF with iText, Ryan Hamer, iText (s)
Video recording / Description
Repairing and optimizing PDF files, Ulrich Altorfer, PDF Tools
Video recording / Description
Opportunities for PDF on Mobile Platforms, Pat Wibbeler, Adobe Systems
Video recording / Description
Who's afraid of the XML Forms Architecture (XFA)?, Panel and audience discussion
Video recording / Description
What's coming in PDF 2.0, Duff Johnson, PDF Association
Video recording / Description
Semantic content recognition in PDF, and what's next, Ivan Nincic, PDFTron
Video recording / Description
Panel Discussion: PDF 2.0 and the Future of PDF, Panel discussion
Video recording


The conference opens with PDF Association Executive Director Duff Johnson and Adobe Systems PDF Architect Leonard Rosenthol welcoming attendees.

Day 1 Keynote Session

Phil YdensPhil Ydens, Adobe Systems VP Engineering

Over almost the entire lifespan of PDF, Phil's played a key role in growing Adobe Reader and Acrobat, and consequently PDF, into their respective dominant roles.

In his keynote address, Phil will offer some lessons from the history of managing such vast - and popular - applications.

Day 2 Keynote Session

Jon CallasJon Callas, Silent Circle Founder and CTO

The co-founder and CTO of the global encrypted communications service Silent Circle, Jon has held major positions at Digital Equipment Corporation, Apple, PGP, and Entrust, and is considered “one of the most respected and well-known names in the mobile security industry.” Prior to his work at Entrust Jon was Chief Technical Officer and co-founder of PGP Corporation, and author of the OpenPGP specification.

Jon will provide his unique perspective on the past, present and future of document security.

Conference Sessions

Most sessions are purely educational, with no promotional content allowed. Sponsored sessions allow presenters to use their own products in explaining their approach to addressing real-world problems.

Panel sessions

PDF as a Platform, the Challenge and the Prize

Rick Treitman, Adobe Systems Entrepreneur in Residence, moderator

Duff Johnson (PDF Association), Ivan Nincic (PDFTron), and John Hewson (PDFBox), panelists

This panel and audience participation session asks the question: what needs to happen to move PDF from the ubiquitous lowest-common denominator to a platform for innovation? Rick will grill a couple of panelists, then open it up to the audience.

Who's afraid of XFA?

Joel Geraci, Practical:PDF, moderator

Bruno Lowagie, iText and Leonard Rosenthol, Adobe Systems, panelists

What does the future hold for the XML Forms Architecture (XFA)? What are the pros and cons of the technology? How will deprecation from PDF 2.0 affect XFA? A discussion with experts in both PDF and XFA technologies.

PDF 2.0 and the future of PDF

Leonard Rosenthol, Adobe Systems, moderator

Duff Johnson (Consultant, ISO 32000 Project Leader), Bruno Lowagie, iText, Matt Kuznicki, Datalogics and François Fernandès, Levigo, panelists

There are lots of changes coming in PDF 2.0. You probably have some questions. A panel of experts who are deeply involved with the ISO 171 SC 2 WG 8 committee talk about the next big step in PDF technology

Educational sessions

Educational sessions explain PDF technology at a variety of levels, from understanding the details of font encoding to the implementation of high-level abstractions about the nature of documents. These sessions are not in any way advertorials - there's no mention of products, just hard information delivered by some of the world's leading PDF technology developers.

PDF Compression: Ways to squeeze the most space from your PDF

Aaron Schnarr / ActivePDF

This session will discuss the image and object compression schemes available in the PDF specification, when and how to use them, as well as obvious and not so obvious ways to squeeze the most out of your PDF's.

XMP: Making metadata connect to your documents

Aaron Schnarr / ActivePDF

When is a document not just a document?  When it's an intelligent document!  You've probably heard about XMP and even seen it in your PDF files, but did you know that you can make XMP smart and even relate to real world data?  This session will cover strategies and techniques on creating, modifying and manipulating XMP so that it's not just "another thing to deal with", but instead, an integral part of your records management strategy.

Definitive PDF/A validation: why should developers care?

Boris Doubrov / Dual Lab and Duff Johnson, PDF Association

veraPDF architect (Boris) and industry coordinator (Duff) demonstrate the working prototype of the veraPDF consortium’s EU-funded open source PDF/A validator project and discuss the possibilities of a world in which PDF documents can be authoritatively validated.

Intro to EPUB (for PDF developers)

Bill McCoy / IDPF

EPUB is a digital publication format based on HTML, CSS and other Web Standards that's been widely adopted for consumer ebooks and is seeing increasing adoption in other segments of publishing such as e-textbooks and other learning content. EPUB's focus is on structured content that can be reformatted for optimized display on different sized screens and for accessibility purposes, but EPUB now also supports fixed layout, forms and other interactivity, and is even being used in print-on-demand solutions. This session, presented by IDPF Executive Director Bill McCoy, will give an overview of EPUB's current technical capabilities and near-term roadmap, focusing on areas of complementarity as well as overlap with PDF which may present new opportunities for PDF developers.

ZUGFeRD: The e-invoice "cart horse" from Germany

Bruno Lowagie / iText

XML or PDF for invoices? It's not an "or" story. You can have the best of both worlds. Thanks to the ZUGFeRD standard, you can produce invoices that are user-friendly and machine-readable at the same time.

Implementing PDF/A-3 solutions

David van Driessche / Four Pees & Dietrich von Seggern / callas software

The PDF/A-3 specification (ISO 19005-3) allows for embedding arbitrary files as PDF attachments. The presentation will explain PDF/A-3?s technical requirements and provide the technical and environmental background to use cases in document management that take advantage of PDF/A-3.

What's coming in PDF 2.0

Duff Johnson, PDF Association

One of the two Project Leaders of the ISO committee developing ISO 32000-2 will provide an overview of the additions, deprecations, clarifications and other changes in the first fully post-Adobe specification for PDF. This session is intended to provide background information for the panel discussion immediately following.

Intro to PDF/A

François Fernandes / Levigo

This session offers an introduction to the requirements and restrictions of the archival standard for PDF technology.

Understanding fonts and encodings

François Fernandes / Levigo

Trapped in the Bermuda triangle of font encoding, glyph lookup, and text extraction? Help is at hand!

Repairing and optimizing PDF files

Hans Barfüss / PDF Tools

If you can't open a PDF file because it is bad or damaged is an unpleasant experience. The presentation introduces the audience to the cause and the art of repairing damaged PDF files. Optimization is more than just compressing images and reducing the size of a PDF file. It can also be used to prepare a document for a specific purpose such as web publishing or printing. The presentation gives an overview of the most common optimization tasks.

Semantic content recognition in PDF, and what's next

Ivan Nincic / PDFTron

Semantic content recognition in PDF has many applications ranging from accessibility support to reflow, however current solutions fall short. After examining the state of the art in this area we provide some suggestions on how to advance the field.

Intro to PDF

Leonard Rosenthol / Adobe Systems

From PDF file structure to the Carousel Object System to common data structures and more, Adobe's PDF Architect introduces the technical infrastructure of the world's chosen final-form electronic document format.

Searching PDF: Challenges and Opportunities

Leonard Rosenthol / Adobe Systems

Searching PDF is hard. Or at least, it's harder than searching HTML. But speed of indexing is only one of many considerations. This session provides insight into why none of the search engine vendors do PDF search properly, and suggests some ways in which developers might choose to approach the problem.

Intro to PDF/UA

Matthew Hardy / Adobe Systems

This session introduces the core concepts of PDF's content reuse mechanism including marked content, logical structure and tagged PDF.

Tagging page content

Matthew Hardy / Adobe Systems

What are the considerations when writing or reading marked content, logical structure and tagged PDF? This session introduces developers to the nuts and bolts of reusing PDF content.

A history of concerns about PDF

Matt Kuznicki / Datalogics

Since its inception, PDF has been a reliable format for communicating and exchanging ideas with others. However, the world keeps changing – and with it, the needs, desires and concerns of users change as well. This talk will feature the history of various end-user and community concerns and opinions about the PDF file format throughout its lifetime (factual and unfounded), the motivations behind these concerns, and how these concerns have been addressed over time. We’ll wrap up with a discussion on how the PDF format is continuing to evolve, and what communities will benefit.

An introduction to color in PDF

Patrick Gallot  / Datalogics

Colors can be represented in a multitude of different ways in PDF files, with interesting results. This session will provide an introduction to color and how colors are represented in PDF files. We'll talk about how colors are processed for display and print of PDFs, how transparency affects color processing and best practices for specifying and processing color in PDFs.

Opportunities for PDF on mobile platforms

Pat Wibbeler / Adobe Systems

What are some of the interesting things one can do with PDF on a mobile device? From touch to offline work to embedded audio and video, PDF offers a variety of interesting opportunities for mobile developers.

Table cell extraction from PDF documents

Malcolm Greaves, Research Engineer / Nitro

The table cell extraction problem is central to understanding tabular data captured in PDFs. This talk will explain the underlying problem and describe a functional algorithm that given the boundaries of a well-formed table on a PDF page is able to accurately extract each cell¹s data and assign it a unique row and column header label. This approach can be used to derive a relational table of contents. Several other applications that are powered by a working table cell extraction algorithm will also be discussed.

Technical Conference sponsor logosPractical solutions in the real world (sponsored sessions)

The "practical" sponsored sessions are all about exploring specific solutions. They may include product mentions and in most cases, demonstrations. There will be plenty of time left for questions. Presenters aren't sales/marketing people; these speakers are experts in their fields. Hard questions are encouraged!

Automating quality control in PDF generation and validation

Boris Doubrov / Dual Lab

Dual Lab is a software development company delivering high quality solutions in PDF technology, graphics arts and other technological areas.  In this session we talk about both our success stories and best practices as well as risks and concerns.

Using a RESTful API to Process PDF Forms

Brandon Haugen / Datalogics

It is challenging to provide a consistent experience when working with PDF forms, with different PDF viewers on different screens and platforms all offering differing support for PDF forms. How do you provide the best experience for your users, no matter how they work with your PDF form? Use a RESTful API with smarter PDFs. By offloading some of the logic that would normally go into an application into the PDF itself and using Datalogics PDF WebAPI to execute that logic when your users send the PDF back to you, you can build more flexible applications to handle your needs today and the needs of your users in the future.

Integrating PDF technology through command-line or SDK - what makes most sense?

David van Driessche / Four Pees & Dietrich von Seggern / callas software

There is a tendency amongst developers to look down on command-line modules and favour integration through libraries. There are however advantages to using command-line integration of technologies and a thorough understanding of those advantages can help to make the right choice. With pdfaPilot and pdfToolbox, callas software provides both a command-line and library integration scenario. This presentation uses these technologies to highlight strengths and weaknesses of both approaches.

Programming PDF using web technologies and command line

David van Driessche / Four Pees & Dietrich von Seggern / callas software

In today’s world communication very frequently happens through a mix of different channels: email, paper, web, etc. Web languages (HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript) have emerged as highly efficient technologies for dynamic content production but aren't necessarily ideal for variable data printing. Does it make sense to use web technologies for channels like PDF or print, which are using “real” pages with pagination, complex vector graphics, print color spaces? In this session, requirements and solutions are demonstrated with practical HTML/CSS/JavaScript examples that are converted using callas pdfChip; PDF creator technology that embraces web technologies without sacrificing the benefits of PDF.

PDF documents in HTML5 websites across devices

François Fernandes / Levigo

The jadice web toolkit is a GWT based library that provides consistent and reliable document viewing and more in HTML5 webpages. This session is about customizing the jadice web toolkit to create powerful document viewing clients.

Repairing and optimizing pdf files with PDF Tools

Ulrich Altorfer / PDF Tools

This session explains and demonstrates PDF Tools’ unique range of SDKs and applications designed to address the PDF repair and optimization needs as outlined in Hans Barfüss’s educational session.

Introducing PDFNetJS: the first complete PDF toolkit for the browser

Ivan Nincic / PDFTron

Wouldn't it be great if all PDF processing like forms, annotations, rendering, file conversion, PDF/A validation, redaction and other editing operations could be done directly in any browser, without reliance on plugins or servers?

Come and learn more about the future of PDF processing purely in the browser!

Transforming PDF into HTML

Matt Kuznicki / Datalogics

The fixed visual layout of PDF files is a key strength in many situations - however, this can also leave some users with a less-than-ideal experience. What to do in situations where PDF's strengths turn out to be weaknesses? Join us to learn about Datalogics PDF Alchemist and how to convert your PDF into HTML for presentation and repurposing PDF document content for a variety of purposes.

Tools that Drive the Digital Business

Mike Kadell / ActivePDF

As your business blurs the physical and digital worlds to create new, dynamic business models and designs, you need proven, reliable technology that increases revenue, decreases expenses and make regulatory and legal compliance much simpler.  With ActivePDF's developer tools and technologies you can quickly and easily digitize your business gaining a competitive advantage all while increasing your bottom line.

Creating structured PDF documents with iText

Ryan Hamer / iText

Some examples on how to use iText to create structured PDFs, building up to eventually creating ZUGFeRD invoices.

Understanding PDF at Web Scale

Tiho Bajic, CTO / Nitro

Pervasive new technologies, platforms, and consumer interactions have created the perfect storm of document inefficiency in organizations today. Difficulties in understanding and reasoning about unstructured data captured in PDFs is at the heart of this problem. Join Tiho Bajic, CTO of Nitro, as he examines the challenges of democratizing information captured in PDFs across the enterprise. Tiho will discuss the impact of emerging big and fast data technologies in working with documents at web scale.

Register now!

Register Now for the PDF Technical Conference 2015, October 19-20 in San Jose, CA

Program Committee

  • Duff Johnson, PDF Association, Executive Director & Project Leader for ISO 32000 (PDF)
  • Leonard Rosenthol, Adobe Systems, PDF Architect & Project Leader for ISO 19005 (PDF/A)
  • Matt Kuznicki, Datalogics CTO

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