Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Digital Document Developments: PDF Still the Champ, for Better or Worse

Kudos to Ron Miller in EContent Magazine for a great review of today's options for digital document formats that go beyond Adobe's ubiquitous PDF format and include innovative offerings from Verity and NXTbook, as well as the now-familiar offerings from Zinio and NewsStand. The NXTbook offering is sans digital rights (citing lack of Web standards as an underlying factor) and is a little raw around the edges but does offer some good basic page-turning features and favors page layouts that actually fit on digital device screens nicely, which is a refreshing change of pace, but without some sort of rights management capability its opportunities versus PDFs will be limited. On the other hand Zino and NewsStand are all about digital rights and protecting existing models and formats, and they suffer greatly from the latter while gaining very little new audience from the former. Verity's Liquid Office offers nice forms-oriented interfaces that make it easy for documents on the go to update databases, but this leaves a rather limited scope of utility. With the ability to support a multiplicity of publisher and personal presentation formats, a rich feature set and support for DRM for eBooks and other enterprise-oriented document rights management options, PDFs remain hands-down the most friendly premium digital content objects available today. Now if only the Acrobat software could get to be a little slimmer...
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