Thursday, December 7, 2006

Mars project on Adobe labs

Adobe announced the mars project on labs . What is Mars? An XML implementation of the PDF syntax, including extensions for industry standards such as SVG, PNG, JPG, Xpath, etc into a zip file. There is a plug-in for acrobat that will support creation of Mars document in Acrobat 8. To view mars document, there is also a plug-in for Reader 8. (p.s., reader 8 is available for download now on Adobe's website.)

What does this mean?

One simple scenario I can think of, is to easily support xml data merging and extracting using commonly available tools then distribute as PDF after it has been converted from a Mars format. I suspect that somewhere down the road, Reader and Acrobat will support the Mars format natively, without requiring a plug-in.

More to come after i experiment more with the Mar's pre-release build.

David in Vancouver


Bill said...


I tried the plugin for Adobe Mars. I can open a .mars extension pdf in Acrobat 8 as advertised. When I save an opened pdf as .mars I get the mars version of a pdf (still compatible). I have not seen this "zip" file in either instance. I don't understand where this comes from. Would a user make one? Have you worked ith a zip file as you try this out?


David said...


when you save a document as a mars file, it is actually a zip file that contains certain structure information. The best way of trying this out is:

1) Create a PDF using acrobat
2) Save the PDF as mars on your desktop
3) Right click on the mars, and open using winzip, 7zip, or any other favorite zip program.
4) notice the backbone.xml inside the "mars" zip, as well as other associated content.

If you follow the syntax of the mars document, and construct this packaged zip file and name it properly, any Adobe Reader / Acrobat with mars plug-in will read it properly.

Hope this helps