Friday August 24, 2018

PDF blows out 25 candles! So, what does the future hold?

After a quarter of a century, PDF is still around. Will the popular file format still be considered just as awesome another twenty-five years from now? Our bet is yes! We even dare say that PitStop played a big part in its adoption in our industry. Don’t believe us? Let history convince you otherwise!

1990: It all started with a white paper

Back in 1990, there was no such thing as PDF. John Warnock (co-founder of Adobe) wrote a white paper called ‘The Camelot Project’, stating:

“This project’s goal is to solve a fundamental problem that confronts today’s companies. The problem is concerned with our ability to communicate visual material between different computer applications and systems. The specific problem is that most programs print to a wide range of printers, but there is no universal way to communicate and view this printed information electronically.”

1993: a PDF is born

Now the standard output format for the majority of the printing industry, PDF was formally launched with Adobe Acrobat on June 15, 1993. Initially designed for office and corporate environments, the innovative format was quickly latched onto by the printing industry. At that time the industry mainly used a Page Description Language for output called Postscript. This tended to create large, inefficient files that were slow to  create, move around and output. Moreover, postscript could not be easily viewed, edited or checked. PDF, however, was much smaller in filesize and efficient and could be easily viewed and proofed. In the beginning, though, the format was lacking a lot of functionality, and there were no standardized ways of working yet.

1998: ‘PDF for prepress’

1998 was the year of an important white paper. Called ‘PDF for prepress’, it envisioned the first PDF/X standards required to achieve ISO certification, as well as the first technical quality criteria for major print processes and products as specified by the Ghent Workgroup. 

1998-2002: The Ghent Workgroup

Between 1998 and 2002, Enfocus invited the most important Belgian, Dutch, British and French industry players and associations of the time round the table to form a workgroup which would ultimately agree on common settings for preflighting in prepress in a bid to prevent errors and streamline the job handling workflow. The Ghent Workgroup was born.    

The future is in automated PDF preflighting

Recognized by the printing industry as the standard for PDF preflighting, the specifications established by The Ghent Workgroup continue to innovate and optimize PDF workflows between creators and operators up to this day. One of the key products that helped make PDF the standard format within the printing industry still exists today and is called PitStop

PitStop Pro 2018

First shipped in 1997, PitStop initially was a PDF editor. It wasn’t until 1999 that it combined PDF checking, fixing and editing in one application. PitStop today enables tens of thousands of printing companies to check millions of PDF files annually so that jobs don’t get printed incorrectly, saving ink, paper, time and money. Another major benefit of PitStop is that it allows printers to quickly fix problems themselves, rather than having to freeze the process to go back and check with their customers.

As PDF has matured and developed, so has PitStop, culminating in Enfocus’ latest PitStop release. Learn what’s new in PitStop 2018!








About Andrew Bailes-Collins

PitStop Pro 2018

Andrew Bailes-Collins is Senior Product Manager at Enfocus.

He graduated from what is now the London College of Communications and went on to serve an apprenticeship as a compositor. He has worked for a number of vendors in the printing and publishing sector, including Scangraphic, Apple and DuPont/Crosfield.

Andrew has been Prepress Manager for several high-quality printing companies in London, managing the change from conventional production techniques to digital. An early adopter of computer-to-plate and PDF workflow, Andrew then worked at OneVision Software for ten years. Initially based in the UK, before rising through the company to become Head of Product Management Europe at their head office near Munich in Germany.

Andrew joined Enfocus and moved to Belgium in 2011 and is the Senior Product Manager responsible for the PitStop family of products. He is also the Technical Officer for the Ghent Workgroup and Co-Chair of the GWG specifications sub-committee.

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