Last year (2012), we focused on four goals:
Creating an Android port for iText,
Making iText Cloud-ready (GAE),
Updating the digital signatures functionality to make iText PDF 2.0-ready,
Creating a new product, named XFA Worker, that allows flattening of dynamic XFA forms.
By the end of the year, numerous customers were using iText on Android, a customer presented how he was using iText on GAE, we published a digital signatures white paper and we had our first customer for XFA Worker using iText in a BPM context.
For 2013, we defined four new goals, with the main focus on improving the products developed last year based on customer feedback, as well as starting a new R&D track oriented towards structured / unstructured documents.
In practice, this resulted in four new goals:
Support for PAdES-5, more specifically signing XFA or XDP documents. This combines the R&D we've done with respect to signing with the R&D on XFA.
Making it easier for developers to produce Tagged PDF to allow the creation of PDF/A Level A and PDF/UA on the fly. This way, we hope to increase the world's percentage of structured PDF documents. (According to well-informed sources, iText is in the top 5 when looking at the producer line of all PDFs produced world-wide.)
Applying the results of our R&D regarding the creation of Tagged PDF to XFA Worker. This should allow customers using XFA Worker to start generating PDF/A Level A documents and maybe (if the source data is rich enough) even PDF/UA compliant PDFs.
Improving the parsing process to examine unstructured documents.
iText 5.4.2 shows that we're on track to reach those goals. We've made the Java library release of version 5.4.2 today. The C# and the Android port will follow next week. So will XFA Worker. These are some of the important topics taken from the changelog.
iText had its 13th birthday last February, which means our technology is mature. Nevertheless, we've found and fixed some really old bugs, as well as some bugs that were introduced recently. A mighty old bug concerns generation numbers of objects when working in append mode. A recent bug caused images to be scaled incorrectly. These are things of the past now.
We've implemented PAdES-5 to sign XFA forms and XML Data Packages (XDP) using XML-DSig. We'd really appreciate people willing to test this functionality. Send us your feedback or contact us if you want to know more about PAdES-5!
We've added some convenience methods to make it easier to interpret and enhance the results of iText's parsing process. We've improved the parsing process for Chinese, Japanese and Korean. We've also released a new version of iText RUPS that fixes some annoying bugs we experienced when looking inside existing PDF files.
XFA Worker and Tagged PDF
We've selected a couple of test users who'll get a sneak preview explaining how to create PDF/A Level A using XFA Worker, which is a closed source add-on, written on top of iText and XML Worker. We're talking about XFA Worker creating documents that are Tagged, respecting the structure of the original XML data as closely as possible. This should be a major breakthrough for customers wanting to create PDFs that need to be compliant with archiving and accessibility standards in an automated way. Contact our sales people if you need more info.
PDF/A-1, PDF/A-2 and PDF/A-3
For the next release, we're working on better PDF/A support; that PDF/A-1 Levels A and B, PDF/A-2 Levels A, B and U, as well as PDF/A-3 Levels A, B and U. When you look at the changelog for iText 5.4.2, you can see that some of the work is already done; we hope we can finalize a first beta version for the next release.
We don't have an ETA for the next release yet. We always aim to have 7 to 8 releases a year (last year we had 8). This is our third release this year (February, April, May), we'll probably have another release in the Summer.