Friday, May 20, 2011

And if you're non-compliant, you're out 380 Swiss francs

I haven't visited the Canadian Standards Association website lately, but I'm still interested in standards - what they are, and what they are not.

There are three types of standards - (1) those that are created out of thin air by standards bodies, (2) those that are created by vendors, and (3) those that are created by vendors and subsequently blessed by standards bodies.

Actually, I assert that there are two types of standards. I don't think that the first one truly exists. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I suspect that every standard out there, including the ones blessed by the standards bodies, receive significant input from one or more vendors.

In essence, they have to. Not only is there no point in creating a standard if none of the vendors will adopt it, there is also minimal interest in a standard if the vendors don't participate. After all, vendors have money, and they'll pay people to sit on the standards committees.

Therefore, it's no great surprise that there is an ISO standard for Portable Document Format. The standard has the official designation ISO 32000-1:2008, and can be purchased from ISO for 380 Swiss francs.

And if you purchase the standard, what do you get?

A PDF file.

Perhaps you may download the standard to your computer, or perhaps you may receive a compact disc with the standard, but in either case, the PDF standard is provided in PDF format.

Which means that if you want to know how to develop your own PDF application, you'll need to use someone else's PDF application to find out the test criteria.

But there's a benefit to this. Once you've developed your PDF application, you already have a file to use for testing.
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