A quick guide to PDF for Java (and non-Java) developers

The PDF file format is a very common (and very elegant) file format which many Java developers will come across. But it is not totally straight-forward to understand, especially is you come with a mindset of expecting it to work like Microsoft Word or HTML/XML.

We have spent over 10 years working with PDF and we thought that a quick guide to the PDF file format would be useful. So we have produced a free guide (in PDF format naturally) to get you up to speed on how you might need to manipulate PDF files, give you an idea of how they work, and lots of hints and tips. You can download it by clicking on this link.

It is quite tricky to get the exact balance – we wanted to give you just the right amount of information you would need – so please let us know what you think.

It started out as a guide for Java Developers (because that is our background) but the focus is very much working with the PDF file format. So it should be useful to any developer faced with a PDF file.

Lastly it allowed me to include on the back page a roll of honour of all the people who have worked on developing our Java PDF viewer – I am grateful for all their input in making our JPedal PDF library such a powerful development tool.

Let us know what you think (and how we can improve the guide)…

This post is part of our “Understanding the PDF File Format” series. In each article, we aim to take a specific PDF feature and explain it in simple terms. If you wish to learn more about PDF, we have 13 years worth of PDF knowledge and tips, so click here to visit our series index!

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Mark Stephens

System Architect and Lead Developer at IDRSolutions
Mark Stephens has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and has diversified into HTML5, SVG and JavaFX. He also enjoys speaking at conferences and has been a Speaker at user groups, Business of Software, Seybold and JavaOne conferences. He has a very dry sense of humor and an MA in Medieval History for which he has not yet found a practical use.
Markee174

About Mark Stephens

Mark Stephens has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and has diversified into HTML5, SVG and JavaFX.

He also enjoys speaking at conferences and has been a Speaker at user groups, Business of Software, Seybold and JavaOne conferences. He has a very dry sense of humor and an MA in Medieval History for which he has not yet found a practical use.

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