iText 5.5.5 release

Tags: Release

We're releasing iText 5.5.5 on iText's 15th birthday: February 14, 2015 and if we take a look at the changelog, we see that we're making progress in a couple of related areas. Returning topics are text extraction, compare tool and clean-up functionality. The common denominator of these three evolutions is PDF parsing.

Text extraction:

We have fixed a bug that was introduced very recently and that was reported by many different developers. This bug caused an ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException when an empty String was encountered. We improved parsing of Type3 fonts and we improved parsing of Unicode fonts. Documents that used to result in nothing but white space, are now converted to actual text. Of course: there will always be broken PDFs that can never be parsed correctly, no matter which tool you use.

Compare tool:

As parsing improves, we can come up with better ways to compare PDFs. We have a large suite of tests that generate PDF documents and then compare the result with a reference PDF. This isn't trivial as two PDFs that are created using the same code are never identical by design (that's inherent to the PDF specification). There are different strategies one can use to compare such PDFs and we are constantly improving our compare tool by adding new strategies.

Clean-up functionality:

This is a work in progress that was started in iText 5.5.4. At that time, the development was done in the Java version of iText only. We have now ported this functionality to C# and we have improved the functionality. For instance: whereas we only allowed redaction of text in 5.5.4, we now also allow redaction of images. The work isn't finished yet: we still have several edge cases to fix and redaction of curves isn't covered yet.

Apart from these three major areas, we also fixed a number of issues that were reported. If you use the XMP functionality, it is important for you to upgrade to protect yourself against the XML External Entity (XXE) attacks that were reported on December 31, 2014. We also fixed some problems related to Tagged PDF and fonts.

Finally, let's take a look at the other iText projects:

  • We won't make a RUPS release, because no new functionality was added to RUPS.
  • The new XML Worker version will only bring a handful of improvements (that might be important if you use tables)
  • As usual, users provided us with a new series of XFA forms with special features that we integrated into a new XFA Worker release.

That's all for iText 5.5.5. Let's start working on iText 5.5.6!