Microsoft Silverlight is the Windows 98 of Flash, says Adobe’s Pacific marketing manager, Mark Cokes.
Silverlight is Microsoft’s browser plug-in for .Net-based media experiences and rich web applications. It is designed to compete with Flash, which is Adobe’s plug-in for multimedia applications.
Adobe is best known to users for its free PDF (portable document format) Acrobat reader, now known as Adobe Reader. In recent iterations, it’s becoming much more integrated with Flash, says Cokes.
“The challenge is to get people to understand the massive depth of PDFs,” he says. While the PDF is viewed as a flat file, it has three layers: presentation, business logic, and a schema.
The download version of the PDF is free to users but the paid-for enterprise version provides fully enabled features that give the enterprise a lot of power over who can do what to documents, he says. These features include remote collaboration, intelligent forms and high-level security.
Cokes describes a PDF as basically a paper form but with multi-level capability, all controlled by a workflow engine.
For example, a tax department form will intelligently lead to the next appropriate question, rather that the manual method of referring the person to another section if certain criteria apply.
There is also a bar code option that captures all the data in a document, which can then be scanned into a back-end system. The form can be saved and submitted later, online. Where parts of it may need to go to a third party, such as an accountant or lawyer, they can be broken out. The interactive forms includes support for Flash and Wizards.
“It’s tedious to fill in unrelated questions,” says Cokes. “Our flexible form adjusts itself, depending on your answers.
“The user population probably needs the free reader only. The compelling value proposition is that the recipient of the PDF can access the richer features of the document with the free Adobe reader.
New Zealand is quite a bit behind Australia in applying enterprise-wide PDF solutions, Cokes says.
“We’ve got around 10 customers in New Zealand in the implementation stage.” He wouldn’t name them but says they include several government departments.