Simple PDF Reader Changes How Millions Edit Documents


ABCpdf, first released to the public in May 2002, has changed the way millions worldwide are viewing and editing documents on the go. A popular development library for creating and manipulating PDF documents programmatically, ABCpdf offers many and tools standard PDF readers do not. Developed by WebSuperGoo, a software company that specializes in imaging and internet technology, ABCpdf became a powerful document-manager that allowed the public to generate PDF documents on the go, without drivers or other software.

Due to its growing user database, ABCpdf has had multiple licensing products that supply tens of thousands of organizations. Clients all over the world include Harvard Medical School, Wells Fargo, and Hewlett-Packard.

ABCpdf is the only PDF product that fully supports hyperlinks and other HTML texts on the document. The software also has much flexibility with low-level objects on the page through compression, decompression, and image re-sizing and re-sampling tools. ABCpdf's document contains code in C Sharp and .NET programming for examples of how to customize tools and the software's library.

ABCpdf is proprietary software and WebSuperGoo licenses depend on the version of the software you want to use. Its currently most-popular version, ABCpdf8, allows users to render HTML with the Mozilla Gecko, a content layout tool that is compatible with Adobe Acrobat.

At $329, the software compares favorably to PDFlib and Java PDF, which are $450 and $700, respectively. But ABCpdf also offers its products for free with a back-link from the buyer's website.

A Colorful History:

The original authors of ABCpdf were Jos Vernon and Jon Anderson. Now WebSuperGoo's CEO, Vernon started his career developing artificial intelligence systems for defense surposes and later worked for the BBC's Interactive television unit in the mid-19oos. During the technology "bubble Vernon worked in web programming and eveloped server-side tools. According to Vernon, "in an analogy to the gold rush, the place to be selling were tools, rather than digging for gold."

In 2001, Vernon placed an ad on the web for compression code to be written, and Programmer Jon Anderson surfaced with already-written code. Formerly an employee of NASA, Anderson had written a PostScript interpreter in his spare time. According to Vernon, "it's difficult to explain exactly how incredible this was. But it's a bit like someone telling you that they've built a moon-capable space rocket in their backyard." Vernon then recruited Anderson to assist with the development of ABCpdf.

WebSuperGoo has experimented with barter and other methods to sell ABCpdf. According to Vernon, "one client who sold antique coins was having a hard time with cash flow. He came to us asking if he cold pay in Roman Coins. OF course we said yes, and now we have 2000 year-old coins of Hardrian sitting on the wall of one of our offices."

ABCpdf has been used to print custom designs on chocolate. In addition, while it is uncommon for customers to use ABCpdf to create PDFs using ink, one used laser cutters to craft shapes. Another client, Load CD Sheet Music, used ABCpdf to render its classical and contemporary sheet music. 

Lastly, WebSuperGoo has provided ABCpdf for free to Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief, which provides healthcare in Africa, Tabor that works with children and families in need. WebSuperGoo has also provided ABCpdf for free to the Rapid UK, which supplies search and rescue services in disaster situations.

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