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Behaviour change between secure pdfs created in v11 and v13 - require a urgent workaround

Question asked by kiwikaty on Sep 25, 2014
Latest reply on Sep 26, 2014 by jrenfrew

After investigating complaints from students using Safari on a mac or an iPad I have discovered that v11 and v13 have a behavior difference when creating secure pdfs. In v11 if you choose for the secure pdf to be compatible with Acrobat version 5 and up - it does just that - it produces a pdf that is compatible 5 and up, in v13 even if you select Acrobat 5 and up the pdfs produced are Acrobat 7 and up compatible regardless.


Each semester we create 30,000 unique pdfs (and further are made throughout the year via a run on demand script). We use custom web publishing (fx.php) to deliver these pdfs to students. They log into the site and get a listing of their individualized pdfs which are passworded so that if they are downloaded on public machines they cannot be easily accessed by another student.


The pdfs that have been created in v11 download fine in all browsers and we have had no complaints from users for the last 3.5 years. Recently we upgraded to v13 and saw an influx of complaints from mac and ipad users. On testing I discovered that the issue lay with the pdf themselves. The issue is only with secured pdfs but I am not is a position where I can make unsecured ones.


The issue in safari with the v13 pdfs that are created is that when the students click download it opens an empty tab, the same pdf made via v11 opens a tab with the password for opening the doc. We have now altered our site so that Safari users go to an alternative page which forces the download of the pdf to their downloads folder but it still leaves the blank tab and the students are confused by the new behavior as they are not used to having to access their downloads folder to open the pdf. For the iPad users there is nothing we can do to workaround the issue... v11 pdfs open fine, v13 pdfs open a blank tab.


Currently 90% of the online pdfs were made in v11, next semester 100% would have been made via v13 so our problem is about to get huge. Obviously I can't fix the bug in Safari with these secure pdfs with the higher compatibility and I can't fix the behavior change in Filemaker.


I do not have the time or the resource to completely re-invent this site. I could try and do something where I export data into csvs and import the data to fm11, create the pdfs and then try and get then back into v13 via imports but this would all have to be able to automated as this happens ad hoc throughout the year and it would have to run on a dedicated machine which means triggering it from the v13 clients somehow - this would end up a complicated solution and seems totally impractical - I am not even sure how I would do it. I cannot roll us back to v11 (although I would DEARLY love to for a number of reasons) as we have 140 fmp clients using the inhouse solution.


I have to fix this but after sleepless nights I just can't see a practical way forward and I am getting a lot of heat about the fact that I have not only broken our ability to use outlook and fm13 for student correspondence but I have also now broken a major website. The upgrade is highly degrading the services our solution has been providing reliably for a number of years. If anyone can suggest how I can workaround this issue without a huge development overhead I would be very grateful as I am really under pressure.