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04 July 2011, 13:29

pdf.js hits first milestone perfectly

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Zoom Above, pdf.js 0.1, below, the much improved pdf.js 0.2
Source: Pdf.js team
Announced two weeks ago, development of pdf.js, the JavaScript-based PDF renderer for HTML5 compatible browsers, has been rapid and now the developers have announced that it has reached its first milestone, the ability to render the Tracemonkey paperPDF "perfectly". The new version, 0.2, is a vast improvement: dynamically loaded fonts are correctly measured and kerned, making the pages look cleanly laid out. There are also improvements in rendering graphs and charts and the user interface has been improved and now includes a preview panel view of page thumbnails. Version 0.2 can tried out online.

"We chose the pixel-perfect rendering of this paper as our first milestone because getting there required solving some hard problems, and it’s easier to focus attention on one target. We want to prove that a competitive HTML5 PDF renderer really is feasible, and not just fun talk" wrote Andreas Gal and Chris Jones who say that the experience so far gives the developers confidence that they can solve the hard problems that remain. The next release's target will be "a bit more ambitious": a pixel-perfect rendering of the PDF 1.7 specificationPDF and improving the architecture to use more WebWorkers and improve UI responsiveness.

Gal, Jones and the rest of the expanding pdf.js community also plan to support more browsers over time. They have been finding that pdf.js is a very good exerciser of rendering engine bugs and are hoping to see it embedded in browsers beyond Firefox or web applications. The pdf.js code is available on the project's Github repository and more information is available on the pdf.js wiki. pdf.js is available under a 3 clause BSD licence.


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