PDF history and something special from Adobe

Part One: PDF history 

PDF is a formal open standard, ISO 32000. It was invented by Adobe Systems 17 years ago.

PDF = Portable Document Format

PDF history by Adobe

History of the PDF by Adobe Systems

The image links to a pleasant interactive timeline of Adobe Systems and its role in the development of the PDF. The chronology is in Flash, and thankfully free of any video or audio. Read more about Adobe Systems role in the history of PDF file development.

PDF files are more versatile than I realized, and

  • are viewable and printable on Windows®, Mac OS, and mobile platforms e.g. Android™
  • can be digitally signed
  • preserve source file information — text, drawings, video, 3D, maps, full-color graphics, photos — regardless of the application used to create them

Additional PDF file types exist, including PDF/A, PDF/E and U3D. All are supported by Adobe software. I didn’t realize that Adobe has manufacturing product lines. With Adobe 3D Reviewer, you can merge CAD files, move or delete parts, create animations and exploded assemblies, then save to 3D PDF documents.

I won’t belabor the many security incidents associated with Adobe products. Once found, they are patched. In light of recent events, Adobe’s troubles seem quite par-for-the-course.

Part 2: SiteCatalyst from Adobe Omniture free offer

Adobe CS Live online is free through April 12, 2012.

I discovered this while surfing the Adobe site, looking for User Help forums. I have not seen this promoted anywhere. It is even in rather small print on the Adobe CS page! CS includes various tools for developers e.g. Adobe BrowserLab to preview web content to make sure it displays as intended, and to assure cross browser consistency.

Free access to SiteCatalyst NetAverages (included with CS Live) was the highlight for me. I believe it is sourced from Omniture, the analytics company acquired by Adobe in 2009. Adobe suggests using SiteCatalyst to:

View Internet trends of desktop and mobile users, like browser usage and device types, to help you plan and optimize web content for the widest possible audience.

SiteCatalyst metrics are updated monthly. They are quite comprehensive, and useful for far more than developing Adobe applications. The interface is fun to use, too! Note: This is a 100% free service. No payment information is requested. No other paid Adobe products or subscriptions are required. I am not a paid endorser, but you knew that already, no?

Published in: on 5 September 2011 at 7:30 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Adobe FAQ about CS Live complimentary subscription is available here.


  2. I’ve never used Adobe products, really (I mean, I use PDFs but on a very basic level).

    For someone in my situation, would Adobe CS be of any use? Or would it essentially be something I’m getting simply because it’s free?

    Or in other words: are there uses that someone with no prior usage of the software can find?


    • Hi Benny,
      What a nice new avatar photo! I like that tuxedo. Best wishes to you and your mother for Thanksgiving and so forth.

      I would recommend Adobe CS, if only for their global monthly browser usage metrics. Since Omniture does the analysis, it should have decent validity. I realize that you are an engineering graduate student, not a web developer. But Adobe CS is free, it is a web app, provided as a subscription service. So there won’t be anything to download, nor any extensions nor plug-in’s in your browser. You’ll need to disclose name and email address to Adobe. Oh, and it requires Flash to view, which doesn’t have long for this world, but will be around until the subscription runs out in April 2012.

      Adobe Systems in general seems like a useful but specialized line of products. And they are VERY expensive. But the access you get to this free version of Adobe CS is not extensive. So yes, it is useful despite a lack of prior familiarity with Adobe software.


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