Introducing veraPDF to ISO’s WG for PDF/A

The world of ISO standards development does not proceed very quickly unless there is substantial vendor demand in the first instance. In this case, the first formal communication between the veraPDF consortium’s effort to build an industry-supported validator for PDF/A and the ISO working group responsible for PDF/A occurred during the ISO TC 171 meetings in San Jose, CA in April, 2015.

In the lead-up to this meeting the PDF Association’s PDF Validation TWG created and posted several comments for review by the ISO TC 171 SC 2 WG 5 committee responsible for PDF/A. Additional questions were also put to the WG 8 committee, responsible for ISO 32000, the PDF specification.

As the TWG studied PDF/A in detail, and as discussed i the PDF/A Competence Centre’s Application Notes for PDF/A,  it became clear that there were several areas of ambiguity, especially in part 1 of ISO 19005. During the April meeting in San Jose the PDF Validation TWG submitted questions and received direction on the following key points of interest:

  • That existing Parts of PDF/A will not be amended via corrigenda or otherwise.
  • That the PDF Validation TWG may, as a body, supply proposed revisions to working text for a new Part of PDF/A.
  • The PDF Validation TWG submitted several proposed enhancements for a new Part of PDF/A addressing ambiguities in existing specifications. The first formal ISO meeting to address PDF/A-next will be held in Basel, Switzerland in November, 2015.

The veraPDF consortium will discuss development of a proposal to ISO to request permission to establish the PDF Association’s PDF Validation TWG and the veraPDF software it approves as normative references for PDF/A-next.

The generic nature of veraPDF’s design make it highly amenable to other file-format validators, including other PDF subset standards, PDF itself, and other, non-PDF formats. We hope the community will see veraPDF as a building-block for more comprehensive PDF validation.