April 28, 2014

Accusoft Releases New Document Viewer: Will PDFs Become Obsolete?

Accusoft announced last week that it released Prizm Content Connect 8.4, a universal document viewer that can be embedded into Web apps. Because of its support for so many documents, it raises the question of whether or not PDFs are necessary anymore.

Accusoft Corporation was originally known as Pegasus Imaging, when it was founded in Tampa, Fla. in 1991. A series of acquisitions and name changes over the years led to the present incarnation of Accusoft. The company offers applications and SDKs related to imaging and document processing.

Developers can create solutions that use technologies like barcode and OCR. Applications that support digital rights management, document conversion, forms processing and other related technologies are available.

Prizm Content Connect can be incorporated into Web applications, giving them the ability to view documents in numerous formats. It exposes events that programmers can write code for, giving them some of the functionality of a Window event-driven app developed with a tool like Microsoft (News Alert) Visual Basic.

The beauty of this tool is that it has the benefits of event-driven execution without the memory and resource consumption. It operates as a server-side component, so it does not require any installation on the client.

What does this mean for the future of the portable document format, more commonly known as PDF? PDFs were created by Adobe (NewsAlert) over 20 years ago to provide a document format that was not dependent on any particular hardware or OS platform. Although it was not officially standardized until a few years ago, PDF was a de facto standard for making forms and documents available to the public.

The biggest disadvantage with this system is that everyone has to conform to PDF to make it work. With Prizm Content Connect, almost all document formats will be supported. You would not need Word or any DLLs from Microsoft, for example, to view DOCX files.

This would seem to make PDF an obsolete concept, since every document is effectively portable with Prizm Content Connect. It’s now simply a question of how well the market responds to Accusoft’s latest offering.

Edited by Alisen Downey


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