What is DLE? An Adobe PDF Library Question

We often get asked what the DLE is, and to answer this question we need to describe what the Adobe PDF Library is. Datalogics began distributing Adobe’s PDF Library technology over 20 years ago, and its fair to estimate that it is now used on more than a billion devices worldwide. The Adobe PDF Library is the core PDF processing code that Adobe uses within Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Reader and various other well-known and lesser known Adobe products.

There are now a large number of PDF SDKs available for developers to work with, but the Adobe PDF Library is only one that can guarantee it will behave the way Adobe’s own products do, because it contains the same core algorithms that Adobe uses. Adobe delivers the Adobe PDF Library on the platforms that Adobe delivers its own products on, which include MacOS, Windows and Linux.

So What is DLE?

When Datalogics began distributing the Adobe PDF Library we were quickly asked to deliver platforms that Adobe did not support. One of the first customers needed an OS/390 or z/OS variant to run on IBM mainframes, and another needed HP-UX support on the DEC Alpha chipset. The PDF Library delivers as a C\C++ binary, and customers soon began to ask us for additional language bindings to support Java and .NET development. Developers often asked why some of the features of Adobe Acrobat were not also available in APDFL? Popular capabilities such as OCR, PDF/A conversion, and PDF Optimization are available in Acrobat but are not delivered with the PDF Library so Datalogics added these to our own APDFL deliverables. Over the years the differences between the Adobe PDF Library as delivered by Adobe, and the PDF Library from Datalogics have accumulated. We call these differences DLE, or the Datalogics Enhancements to the PDF Library.

What’s Different?

  • Adobe currently delivers APDFL for 3 platforms and over the years Datalogics has ported the PDFL code to 18 platforms and counting. Linux for ARM chip is coming soon
  • Adobe delivers APDFL with a C interface, while Datalogics provides additional interfaces for .NET, .NET Core and Java
  • PDF Optimization, OCR, PDF/A conversion are available with the Datalogics releases
  • Datalogics adds additional developer documentation
  • Datalogics add filters for image processing and manipulation
  • Additional code samples in multiple development languages are available with the Datalogics PDF Library deliverables
  • The Adobe PDF Library contains an extensive collection of open-source tools and libraries and these are updated regularly with the Datalogics releases to address developer security concerns
  • Datalogics adds additional APIs for frequently requested capabilities
  • The Datalogics DLL’s for the PDF Library are renamed to avoid naming conflicts or confusion in cases where a system is running applications that use both the Adobe PDF Library in an Adobe product and the Datalogics versions of APDFL
  • Bug fixes and enhancements to the code that are requested by Datalogics customers are delivered in the DL versions of APDFL
  • Datalogics provides direct support for developers and this has resulted in literally thousands of code improvements over the last 2 decades
  • I’m certainly forgetting a few things as well…

So you can see that our DLE contains quite a lot, and it changes all the time. Adobe provides releases of the current version of the PDF Library on a quarterly basis, while Datalogics releases the most current versions monthly and has less frequent releases for previous major versions.

Coming Soon in DLE

DLE will receive an update in April of 2021 with the addition of TextFinder APIs. The Adobe PDF Library has always had a WordFinder API, which could be used for finding or extracting specific words from a page in a PDF file. Datalogics is adding a TextFinder API that can locate and extract words, phrases, and text patterns with regular expressions. TextFinder will work across the entire PDF document or any page range. With the TextFinder API, developers will now be able to search for personally identifying information based on pattern matching to find data such as phone numbers, email addresses, or social security numbers for extraction or redaction. TextFinder will deliver with code samples for C, .NET, and Java developers.

Stay tuned for more information on these updates, coming soon! Please note: DLE comes with APDFL and is not a separate product.

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