June 5, 2008
PDF Format to Host Flash Files in Acrobat Version 9
Adobe has announced that the upcoming release of Acrobat 9 will include the capability to embed Flash animation and videos. An article in PC World wonders whether this "weakens" the PDF format. Most of the article comments agree that this would be bad for PDF files. Historically, the value of PDF is that it gives a faithful representation of the printed page. Law review cite checkers even use it as a substitute for getting their hands on the paper artifact. So adding Flash now will upset the balance of reliability, I suppose.
It seems as if Adobe is positioning PDF to be either a publication format that mimics paper, or as a multimedia publishing format. Actually, it can still be both as no one is forcing anyone to embed a Flash video into anything. But think of the possibilities. Imagine getting a PDF of a congressional hearing with a Flash version of the hearing at the end of the volume. Sure, the record of the hearing is the paper version, but does it dilute the paper version by adding the video to the electronic copy? Congress does mount these same videos on committee web sites. Is the time-space continuum threatened because these formats may no longer be discrete? There are two kinds of publishing: paper and electronic. Paper can be represented electronically, but electronic publishing shouldn't be limited by paper. A video can't be printed, but it can be archived.
June 5, 2008 | Permalink
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