Elliot Kimber with a nice analysis of Adobe’s new Mars effort:
MARS is an XML-based format that is intended as a functional replacement for PDF…. After seeing Adobe’s presentation and talking to the guys from Adobe it’s clear that what they’ve done is a sincere and well-thought-out attempt to Do The Right Thing rather than a cynical recasting of proprietary stuff into markup so it’s “open.” MARS tries to use standards as much as it can and it seems to do so to a remarkable level of completeness. It uses SVG for representing each page, supports the usual standards for media objects (bitmaps, videos, etc.). Uses Zip for packaging, and so on.
There are, however, two suggestions I have for Adobe. First, they should seriously consider using ODF to do the packaging. In fact, there’s already evidence they’ve thought of this. The last I looked, there was an ODF namespace in their manifest, even if it didn’t seem like it would validate against the ODF manifest schema per se. I’m sure the OASSIS ODF TC would be happy to discuss any changes they might need.
Likewise, this ties us back to the metadata question. It’s time for Adobe to seriously reevaluate XMP and move it from being an essentially proprietary subset of the RDF spec circa 2000, to reflecting a more open and more technically-refined and rich RDF of today. Think XMP NG, which is largely XML/RDF proper, plus conventions for embedding in (particularly binary) files.
Now that could be a really interesting combination!