by John Brinkman
As most of you are aware, Adobe has released Reader 9.1. What you might not be aware of is that there are some XFA enhancements bundled into this release. This version of Reader now supports XFA 3.0 templates. Here’s my take on a set of "frequently asked questions":
Q. XFA 3.0? Is this a major release?
A. In spite of the fact that XFA 3.0 now has a new major version number, it is not a major revision. We had to choose between incrementing XFA 2.9 to either XFA 2.10 or XFA 3.0. We chose 3.0 primarily because we were worried about code (ours and partners) that converts the XFA version number to a floating point number for comparison purposes. Any code that treats the version as a floating point number would not compare "2.10" properly against "2.9".
Q. What happened to XFA 2.9?
A. We reserved XFA 2.9 for a server-side customer-specific dot release. To the best of my knowledge, we did not end up modifying the specification for XFA 2.9.
Q. When will the XFA 3.0 spec be released to the public?
A. Currently scheduled for release on March 23
Q. When will we have a version of Designer that targets XFA 3.0 and Acrobat/Reader 9.1?
A. I can’t pass along a specific date. There will be a new version of Designer with the next major releases of LiveCycle ES.
Q. What version of PDF will contain XFA 3.0?
A. Acrobat/Reader 9.0/XFA 2.8 were hosted by PDF 1.7 with Adobe Extensions Level 3. Acrobat/Reader 9.1/XFA 3.0 is hosted by PDF 1.7 with Adobe Extensions Level 5.
Q. Does this mean that the XFA template namespace will change again?
A. Yes. The new namespace is: http://www.xfa.org/schema/xfa-template/3.0/ We are looking at an enhancement where we will store the XFA version number separately from the namespace. If you have code in your applications that assumes it can find the version number in the namespace, you might want to think about making the code generic enough so that it could eventually retrieve the version number from somewhere else — perhaps an attribute on the <template> element.
Q. What’s new in XFA 3.0?
A. There are a relatively small number of enhancements, but they are improvements targeting ease of authoring. I plan to blog the specifics in the coming weeks.