June 2008 Archives

At the same time as we announced Acrobat 9, Adobe also announced that a range of cloud computing type applications have been assembled under the acrobat.com banner...

If you browse over to www.acrobat.com this is what you can see....

acrobatcoml.jpg

As you can see, it's a site in Beta at the moment, with some great functionality. Acrobat.com is basically a set of online services — file sharing and storage, PDF converter, online word processor, and web conferencing — you can use to create and share documents, communicate in real time, and simplify working with others.

If you're still not sure about this cloud computing stuff, take a look at this weeks "Click" it's a technology programme from the BBC. It was shown on BBC1, News24 and I think BBC World.

The latest edition can be found online here....

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/click_online/7465386.stm

.........Oh yes, it's worth a look because I'm in it, around the 3 minute mark, don't blink or you'll miss it!

It's free, so sign up now, try it out and tell them Spartacus sent you!

I visited a customer yesterday who asked about Accessibility in Acrobat, it's one of those areas we beat ourselves up about inside Adobe, perhaps unfairly.

Well, we've made some improvements, Acrobat 9 software includes some new accessibility features that I think, improve the performance of Acrobat when it interacts with assistive technologies such as screen readers.

New accessiblity features available in Acrobat 9 include:

* Table Editor tool in the TouchUp Read Order panel that facilitates the evaluation and repair of PDF tables for accessibility. The Table Editor tool features a user interface that provides users with an immediate indication of the scope and role of cells in tables within PDF files.

* TouchUp Read Order tool improvements that enhance support for editing multiline text blocks, and new Unicode-based text editing that in addition to the ISO Latin character set now provides direct support for Central European languages, with more to follow.

* Improved support for dynamic PDF forms that have been created using Adobe LiveCycle® Designer ES software. As tables render themselves according to the responses provided by users, the document's dynamic rendering is communicated to assistive technology.


For some more detailed information take a look here...
http://www.adobe.com/accessibility/products/acrobat/

Glamour - NOT!

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Hiya,

just a quick post to remind everyone that my life isn't all glamour and expensive foreign travel. Yesterday I made a quick (?!) jaunt through britains motorway network up to the north-north part of England to talk with a customer about.... Acrobat Connect professional.

But.... Steve... couldn't you have.... STOP, yes I know what you're thinking. Why didn't I use Connect Professional for the meeting and luxuriate at home instead? Well in this case, the customer wanted a face to face and didn't have a external connection to t'internet from this particular office. I never said Connect Professional would replace all travelling now did I?

Having said that, the meeting went well and another customer now sees the value of using Connect as a delivery and management system for rapid eLearning content. I didn't even talk about live meetings online, just the delivery of Adobe Captivate and Adobe Presenter created eLearning content.

Just wait until I show them the live meeting rooms!

As usual, someone with a more eloquent turn of phrase than I have (Ted Padova) has written a darn good review of some new Acrobat 9 features. If I were you, I'd check out the following link

http://www.acrobatusers.com/tutorials/2008/06/teds_favorite_9_of_acrobat_9/?msglink=122

By the way, here's the man in question....

ted4.jpg

Thanks to Ted for all his work.

But don't think this great summary will prevent me from having my own occasional rant about a great Acrobat feature here and there, stay tuned dear reader, stay tuned to this channel.

Acrobat 9 is here!

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Yeah, you thought I had forgotten right? WRONG!

Not only is Acrobat 9 here, but it's brilliant. Now you know I'm biased so you're not going to believe me and I understand that, but you and I have a contract, it's unwritten but it exists nevertheless and it's something like this... I won't lie to you here and in return, you'll take everything I say with a pinch of salt, but then find out more for yourself. Thats the deal, anyway, back to the product....

There is a plethora of both new and upgraded features to tempt and excite the long time user and the novice alike. I'll pick on just a few today, let's start with one of the big headlines, how Adobe has built the Flash runtime into Acromobat and the free Adobe Reader....

The free Flash player is already deployed on something like 98% of the worlds connected devices, so why bother putting the Flash runtime into Acrobat? Well, it's going to fundementally change how we perceive both PDF documents and the Acrobat application itself. Let's look inside a PDF first.

It's now possible to drop any flash content directly into a PDF. We can insert Flash video, sales dashboards, widgets, mini applications, anything. Documents become more engaging, interactive and even a secure window back to corporate data and systems.

It goes further because with the full Acrobat Pro Extended, I can drag and drop pretty much any media file, (mov, wmf etc...) into my Acrobat window, the media then gets converted to Flash on-the-fly and is compressed. I've now got my video content in a compressed ubiquitous formthat people can also add TIME STAMPED COMMENTS to.

More on that some other time....

Looking outside an individual document, we have a concept called the PDF Portfolio... I reckon the Portfolio is one of the coolest additions to Acrobat in years. Portfolios give you the ability to very easily create a collection of related files and documents - complete with their own Flash based interface. The Portfolio can be read by the free Adobe Reader 9.0. but is also backwards compatable, so Reader 8 and 7 can still see the content, but without the new user interface.

Creating a Portfolio is childs play, you can choose from among the existing portfolio templates, there will be about 12 styles to choose from and then choose the behaviour and presentation within the portfolio template (for example, you can opt for files to be organised on a bitmap, or to revolve around in a carousel / iTunes CoverFlow-like fashion) for the welcome screen.

Then you drag and drop what you want to be in this Portfolio into the container. Portfolios remain organic documents; you can add files and folders to an existing portfolio as needed. A Portfolio outputs as a .PDF document...... like this....

portfolios.jpg

Looks nothing like an ordinary PDF, but it's a PDF, still conforming to international standards, just a way more engaging way to deliver multiple items of content.

Portfolios are great for presentating lots of content and ideas to people, think of bidding / RFQ's, Marketing plans, design reviews, planning proposals, any work that involves complex ideas supported by multiple pieces of content can now be delivered in a highly professional, engaging way.

Go take a look at www.adobe.com/acrobat and tell me you're not impressed. :-)