As we close the door on 2020, we at iText want to celebrate the milestones for iText and our developer community this past year. 2020 has come with unexpected trials and tribulations. We want to thank and recognize our community for the successes we shared.
To start, this year we celebrated 20 years of the iText PDF library. The initial release of iText in 2000 was an important landmark for developers as it enabled the use of PDF technology in the backend. Up until this point the technology resided solely within the Adobe environment.
Over the past 20 years, our user base has grown substantially: today we have millions of open-source and commercial users around the world, and our client base is still growing at an exponential rate.
The iText PDF library has evolved substantially, thanks to the many Java and .NET contributors in our community. This year, on its 20th anniversary, we released iText version 7.1.10 which included a wealth of updates and improvements to the iText 7 Core library, and many of its add-ons. This was far from our only release of 2020 though…
In early January, we added iText pdfRender to our suite of iText 7 add-ons. pdfRender allows you to generate images from PDFs, so that you can create PDF file renders for your displaying needs, or to ensure compatibility with archival and legacy workflow requirements. For the development of this new add-on, we worked together with IDRsolutions, a well-known technology provider of Java SDKs.
In June, iText released iText pdfOCR, yet another new add-on for the renowned iText 7 PDF SDK. Offering Optical Character Recognition (OCR) functionality for scanned documents and images, it allows the recognition and extraction of text, and conversion into fully searchable PDF or PDF/A-3u compliant documents to be searched, indexed or interpreted. As part of the iText ecosystem, logical follow-up actions could be data extraction with iText pdf2Data, secure content redaction with iText pdfSweep, or multilanguage document recreation with iText pdfCalligraph. Or, if you need to repurpose data into new documents then our low-code document generator iText DITO® may be the final cherry on the cake.
Speaking of iText DITO, we’ve been beavering away and released three new versions with 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5 all coming in 2020 alone. Some of the key new features include easy display formatting options for data bindings, conditional logic for content visibility, a PDF/UA compliance assistant, barcode and QR code generation from data, conditional formatting of alphanumeric data bindings, and more.
We also made some new additions to our website. We added the iText 7 Demo Lab which completely replaces our old demos page where we only had limited demonstrations of certain iText Core and add-on functionality.
Now, it’s possible for anyone to use iText to edit and manipulate PDFs, without needing to download and install anything! Using our free online apps you can perform a whole range of PDF operations with iText, such as splitting and merging, rotating, deleting pages, adding and removing password protection, and converting images to PDF. You can also use add-on functionality, such as converting HTML to PDF and flattening XFA forms.
That’s not all though. Integrated into each of the demo pages is an online Java and C# compiler, with an iText 7 example showing exactly how each PDF operation is achieved in iText. So, if you want you can play around in our sandbox and get to grips with iText, all completely online!
Throughout the year, iText continued to make our developer resources for our library more accessible. In June, iText launched the iText Knowledge Base; our new user resource center for all technical information and documentation. The majority of our technical content was previously located on our corporate website, but the Knowledge Base will now serve as our dedicated developer portal and includes release notes, tutorials, FAQs, examples and installation guides.
As iText continued to grow with new releases and additions, we also welcomed new faces to the iText team. Perhaps the most notable was the addition of seasoned software industry leader Gary Fry as the new CEO.
As Gary said, “I’m excited to be at the helm during this pivotal stage of iText’s growth. With our new strategy to expand our business value offering, we are on the verge of entering a new phase for the company, while the digital acceleration opportunities that the COVID-19 situation bring us, will help also us grow our leading position in the digital communications market.”
Not only did iText welcome new faces internally, but we created great partnerships as well. One that we are particularly proud of is the iText Software partnership with Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GOVTECH)’s National Digital Identity (NDI) Program.
We also were able to attend and host quite a few events, where we could see some of you (albeit virtually). Some of these events include Live webinars: OctoberPDFest, Document Strategy Forum 2020, Live Webinar: Wizard-based, data-driven PDF templating with iText DITO 1.5, STACK 2020 Developers Conference, and DeveloperWeek New York 2020.
On the technical article side, some highlights include showing how we solved an issue for a customer where an interactive form exhibited mysterious behavior when using different languages, and our tips and use cases for using PDF portfolios to package many different files in a single PDF.
To close out the year, we published a three-part series of articles on the PDF Shadow Attacks disclosed by a team of security researchers investigating issues relating to PDF encryption and digital signatures. Although iText proved to not be vulnerable to these attacks, we demonstrated how you can actually use iText to detect suspicious documents and secure your workflows. If you missed them, check out part one, part two and part three of our deep-dive for all the details, with code examples included for you to try out.
In honor of this past year, iText would like to thank our developer community for your continued support and contributions. We can’t wait to ring in 2021 and celebrate more successes with you in this upcoming year!