The International Organization for Standardization today announced that Adobe’s Portable Document Format is now an ISO standard. Well it’s about time! The PDF has only been around for 15 years!

This is great news for all areas of publishing, for Web developers and Web site admins, even operating system makers have reason to rejoice. While Adobe has been a great custodian of its portable format, starting with the introduction of PostScript in 1990, passing the torch to a standards body seems a logical next step toward its long-term preservation, which is chief among the ISO’s stated goals.

The OSI standardized PDF version 1.7, which Adobe published in Oct. 2006. As part of the standardization agreement, Adobe has turned over the copyright and control of the format as well as responsibility for advancing it. Future versions will be published as subsequent parts of the standard.

Published as ISO-32000-1:2008, the PDF standard “specifies a digital form for representing electronic documents to enable users to exchange and view electronic documents independent of the environment in which they were created or the environment in which they are viewed or printed,” according to the standard’s Web page. “It is intended for the developer of software that creates PDF files (conforming writers), software that reads existing PDF files and interprets their contents for display and interaction (conforming readers) and PDF products that read and/or write PDF files for a variety of other purposes (conforming products).”

The ISO also clearly states what the standard DOES NOT specify, including processes for converting paper or electronic documents to PDF, interface or implementation of rendering, document storage or conformance validation methods of files or readers, and any host system requirements.