Mozilla programmers have achieved a goal to build a PDF reader out of
Web programming technology, the "pixel-perfect" rendering of a
contains formatted text, graphics, tables, and graphical diagrams. With
the high-quality rendering, programmers Andreas Gal and Chris Jones declared the pdf.js mature enough to warrant the 0.2 version number yesterday.
The pdf.js project, introduced to the world in June,
Version 0.2 adds a better user interface, support for TrueType fonts,
improved graphics abilities, and more. For a look at how the Web-based
Firefox in my tests, but other browsers aren't supported--yet.
"We intend pdf.js to work in all HTML5-compliant browsers. And that, by
definition, means pdf.js should work equally well on all operating
systems that those browsers run on," but right now it requires a nightly
build of Firefox, the programmers said. "The [PDF research] paper is
rendered less well on other platforms and in older Firefoxen, and even
worse in other browsers. But such is life on the bleeding edge of the
The Mozilla plan is to include the software within Firefox itself. "We
would love to see it embedded in other browsers or Web applications;
because it's written only in standards-compliant web technologies, the
code will run in any compliant browser," the programmers added.
PDF files are widespread on the Net and visible in Google search
results, among other places. But they can be slow to load and in the
past relied on an Adobe browser plug-in that behaved very differently
from the browser itself. The pdf.js project holds the potential of
helping to make PDF a more ordinary document type for browsers.
Next up is a performance improvements in the form of support for Web
should improve rendering speed and reduce user-interface delays.
Also on the list is a more ambitious test document, the official PDF 1.7 specification (PDF), a sprawling 1,310-page, 31MB file.
A big missing feature, though, is the ability to copy text. That relies
on a later phase of work that could use the SVG (Scalable Vector
Google's Chrome has a built-in PDF reader within the browser itself, but
it's not perfect. It's aware of its shortcomings, though: when it tries
to download the PDF reference document, it warns it can't show it all
suggests opening it in Adobe Reader.