Adobe Acrobat SDK Sucks!

In my new job, I’m dealing with PDF documents.  It is such a PITA!

For one project, I used xpdf, pdftk, and pdfinfo.  It was difficult to get them to work properly with VB.NET.  (I was asked to use VB.NET.  It does make sense, to use the same language for everything, even if it would have been easier to use C++.)

For my current project, I need to enable users to annotate PDFs, by opening the PDF in the browser, and save the changes back to our server.

If I use the Acrobat GUI, I can do it.  However, I can’t write a program that does the same thing!  There’s no API hook for that feature!

We have a lot of documents.  It isn’t reasonable to expect someone to manually enable annotations for each document.

It is confusing to get help.  They have a bunch of products and a bunch of subforums.  If you post in the wrong subforum, you don’t get an answer.  Adobe tech support is giving me the runaround, when I’m trying to get an answer.  I have a straightforward specific question.  “I can do X via the GUI.  How do I write a program that does the same thing to a large bunch of documents?”

Adobe has a bunch of products.  It’s maximum confusion.  They keep renaming, joining, and splitting their products.  I’m still not sure exactly what I need to buy.  I think Acrobat X Pro is right, but I can’t get a straight answer from their tech support, regarding how to do what I want.

For example, Acrobat X Pro now comes with LiveCycle.  LiveCycle was once a separate product.  LiveCycle was renamed a bunch of times.  When I google for SDK help, I’m finding stuff that’s 3-4 versions old.

A lot of the pdf specification is an Adobe trade secret, especially the advanced features.  I can’t find an open source equivalent, that does what I want.

I am very frustrated with Adobe and their developer support.  I can do what I want easily via the Acrobat GUI.  I can’t write a program that does the same thing.  I can’t get a straight answer from Adobe tech support.

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