comp.text.pdf FAQ

-Section 4-


4.0 What are "plug-ins"?

In general, "plug-ins" are add-ons to an application which extends or enhances an applications capabilities. This holds true for Adobe Acrobat.


4.1 Is there a list of currently available plug-ins?

Yes. They can be found at Adobe's site at:

Plug-ins are developed by programmers all over the world, and this list will never be complete because (a) new plug-ins are always being introduced, and (b) some plug-ins are introduced for private purposes for use inside large (or small) companies.


4.2 How and where can I get more information on free and/or commercially available plug-ins?

You can usually get more information from the third-party vendors:


4.3 Why don't all of my plug-ins work with Reader?

Reader plug-ins need to be enabled by Adobe. However, in order to get aplug-in enabled a plug-in has to meet certain criteria from Adobe. Currently the only plug-ins which work with Reader are Adobe's Weblink,Movie, EmbedSrv, Search and VerTec's WebFill, and CyberTax. Of course,others may be available.


4.3.1 I have plug-ins on my Sampler CD, but they won't work. Why?

The Adobe Sampler CD comes with Adobe Acrobat Reader only. The demo plug-ins included on the CD are Exchange-only plug-ins.


4.4 What do I need to build a plug-in?

You need to purchase a C compiler, and an Adobe Acrobat Developer kit from the Adobe Developer's Association.Please note the free SDK is not the plug-in SDK, although the free SDKdoes have a few samples of the plug-in SDK. In fact the free SDK only includes documentation on IAC for Acrobat, Acrobat Search, andPDFWriter.


4.4.1 What is the Adobe Developer's Association?

The ADA is a group at Adobe which provides technical support and help to Adobe Developers. The ADA h as two levels for Acrobat developers. Thefirst level covers IAC support, documentation, updates, etc. The secondlevel is the plug-in level. The plug-in level is under a non-disclosure agreement. This agreement, of course, limits the amount of help a developer can get from a public forum. However, Adobe does offer somesupport for plug-in developers on its BBS. More information on this can be provided via the ADA (See section 11).


4.4.2 How difficult is it to write a plug-in?

The answer to this question is dependant upon several factors. The main factor is what you are trying to accomplish. A plug-in which adds a menuitem and a dialog could take a few weeks, while a plug-in that adds a new action or modifies the PDF in some way could take several months to a year to complete and test.


4.5 I was thinking of building a plug-in which does "X", what do I need to accomplish this?

See section 4.4. Also, you may want to look at sections 4.1 and 4.2 above. No use in reinventing the wheel.


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