6 Replies Latest reply on Sep 26, 2014 3:00 PM by jrenfrew

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

    kiwikaty

      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.

        • 1. Re: Behaviour change between secure pdfs created in v11 and v13 - require a urgent workaround
          itraining

          Hi Katy

           

          Across the ditch at FarQ (UQ ) we have a similar database where students receive PDFs via email and a secure web site to download/upload PDFs. Troubleshooting the subtle differences in behaviour across the different versions of Mac OS  X, Microsoft Windows, iOS, Android and the multiplication factor of web browsers Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Chrome on each platform makes troubleshooting painful and difficult.

           

          One of the things we have been able to do is create FAKE students in the database that staff can use to help us troubleshoot the database and processes using their various devices, platforms, email clients and web browsers. Is it possible to create a FAKE student so that the wider FileMaker community can log-in and test the process? We could report back and compile a list of success and failures using different iOS devices, iOS versions and Safari versions. Hopefully this will reveal a solution or at least a temporary workaround.

           

          Finally, looking at the different versions of Safari and its features on iOS might reveal a new feature or tweak that has broken the previous behaviour.

          http://www.somegeekintn.com/blog/2012/01/ios-release-mobile-safari-version-table/

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safari_(web_browser)

          https://developer.apple.com/devcenter/safari/index.action

          iPhone 3GS        - Mobile Safari 4.0.5

          iPhone 4          - Mobile Safari 4.0.5

          iPhone 4s         - Mobile Safari 5.1

          iPad 1 / 3.2.2 - Mobile Safari 4.0.4

          iPad 2 / 4.3.3 - Mobile Safari 5.02

          iPad 2 / 5.0      - Mobile Safari 5.1

          iPad 3 / 5.1      - Mobile Safari 5.1

          iPhone 5 / 6.0    - Mobile Safari 6.0

          iPad 4 / 6.0      - Mobile Safari 6.0

           

          Michael Richards

          Brisbane (Australia)

          • 2. Re: Behaviour change between secure pdfs created in v11 and v13 - require a urgent workaround
            kiwikaty

            Hi Michael

             

            Thank you so much for your reply. The site sits behind the organizations auth systems and I am not easily able to get a test account created but I will broach this with the relevant department.

             

            I have not found anything so far in the web searches that say Safari specifically has an issue with secured pdfs that are Acrobat 7 compatible but this is the only obvious difference I can find between the pdfs that v11 is making and v13 is making.

            If you make an unsecured pdf in v13 then the compatibility sets itself to all versions and these are fine in Safari.

             

            It is tricky as it may have something to do with Safari and perhaps its Adobe plugin? Firefox on the same macs will open both versions of the pdf fine but we are not allowed to determine what browsers students use on their private machines and of course iPad users have very little choice. The v13 pdfs we are forcing to the default downloads folder will open in Adobe so they are intact just Safari can't open them in the browser and on an iPad we can't make them download as we can on a desktop so we still trying to work out how to help these students while we find a long term solution.

             

            As the v11 created pdfs work fine in Safari and on iPads I wish there was a way I could make fm13 make the same pdf but I imagine they have used a newer adobe engine so the chances of this happening would seem a zillion to one. I am sure someone will tell me that the v13 ones are more secure and hence can only be Acrobat 7 compatible  and if this is the case they need to change the compatibity options - not that this change would have alerted me to the issue we have with Safari at this present time. It is possible that there is some other subtle difference aside from compaibility which is causing the issue with Safari but this is what the testing I have done so far has led me to believe.

             

            We are pretty good at striking "rarely encountered" issues and like you say making these things compatible accross platforms and browers is always hard.

             

            People keep asking me can't I just to make them in v11 so things work... of course they can't know what they are asking!

            • 3. Re: Behaviour change between secure pdfs created in v11 and v13 - require a urgent workaround
              jrenfrew

              Any chance you can post a 'demo' PDF with fake user and password??????

              I have access to tools which look under the hood as it were and it might provide some pointers to solutions for you.

               

              john

              • 4. Re: Behaviour change between secure pdfs created in v11 and v13 - require a urgent workaround
                jrenfrew

                There is something else going on here

                 

                from FMP13 on mac

                I have just created a pdf with password and set to Acrobat 5 and above and then uploaded it to space on my website and opened with Safari on Mac and also iPad

                it asks me for a password to open

                if you look inside it starts %PDF-1.4  indicating it is Acrobat 5

                I then created a pdf with option as Acrobat 7 and above

                Same as above and inside it starts %PDF-1.6 indicating it is Acrobat 7

                 

                You can get to them at

                http://2359video.com/q2.pdf and /q3.pdf

                password is john

                 

                it might indeed be a change to CWP but looks like the PDF creation is working as expected.

                 

                john

                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Behaviour change between secure pdfs created in v11 and v13 - require a urgent workaround
                  kiwikaty

                  Thank you for this, I have dug a bit deeper

                   

                  I have done the same process using fmp advanced v13.3 on a windows machine…

                   

                  When you open the secured one made in v13 (compatibility options set to: Acrobat 5 and up)and look at the Adobe properties it says:

                  PDF Producer: Adobe PDF Library 10.1

                  PDF Version 1.5 (Acrobat 6.x)

                  Security tab: Can be opened by: Acrobat 7.0 and Up

                  Behaviour: Opens a blank tab in Safari

                   

                  When you open a secured one made in v11 (compatibility options set to: Acrobat 5 and up)and look at the Adobe properties it says:

                  PDF Producer: Adobe PDF Library 8.0

                  PDF Version 1.4 (Acrobat 5.x)

                  Security tab: Can be opened by: Acrobat 5.0 and Up

                  Behaviour: Opens as expected in Safari – requests password

                   

                  As I further test during troubleshooting I made an unsecured one in v13 (compatibility options set to: Acrobat 5 and up) and look at the Adobe properties it says:

                  PDF Producer: Adobe PDF Library 10.1

                  PDF Version 1.4 (Acrobat 5.x)

                  Security tab: Can be opened by: All versions of Acrobat

                  Behaviour: Opens as expected in Safari – no password required

                   

                  So it appears v13 on windows is capable of making one where the PDF Version is 1.4 but it seems to be ignoring the compatibility option when making the secure pdf.

                   

                  Following on from your advice I made one on a mac using fmp advanced v13.3 and I got the same settings as on the windows box:

                  PDF Producer: Adobe PDF Library 10.1

                  PDF Version 1.5 (Acrobat 6.x)

                  Security tab: Can be opened by: Acrobat 7.0 and Up

                  Behaviour: Opens a blank tab in Safari

                   

                  I then checked the links to the pdfs you had kindly hosted and both of them opened blank tabs in Safari on the mac – So they behaved the same way as the one I had created in v13. But now I was intrigued as these had worked for your Safari.  I then used Firefox to download them and via Adobe preferences and see they were both made using Adobe Library 10.1 and the q2 was PDF version 1.5 (although Get Info shows 1.4) and q3 was version 1.6;  both which say they can be opened by Acrobat 7.0 and Up in security.

                   

                  I wondered if the fact they worked ok for you was to do with the Adobe Client on the machine which was Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro on the mac.

                   

                  My next step was to install Adobe Reader X on the mac and move my pro version out of the apps folder. When I launched Reader X it asked me if I wanted it to be the default which I said yes to. I re-launched Safari. I now got a question to Trust the page and when I clicked Yes it popped up the password box – behaving as expected now.

                   

                  So then I googled how to update Adobe on my iPad2 (it was not showing as needing any updates) and after finding more space I downloaded Adobe Reader from the apps store. Now the v13 pdfs worked as expected.

                   

                  What has become obvious that the secured pdfs made in v13 need a newer version of Adobe Reader on the clients machine than the pdfs made in v11. I think testing has also shown that selecting compatibility of 5 Up for secured pdfs in v13 is not in fact what you get if you check the adobe properties pane – although the Get Info says it is 1.4 the properties of the file are showing it as 1.5. Please correct me if this is not case as I have this logged with fm!

                   

                  The invariable upshot of this is that I either find a way to keep making the pdfs in v11 (ug!) so affected students don’t have to install updated software on their macs and ipads OR we accept that we have a new set of minimum requirements and put some links and tips on how to upgrade their Adobe. Our students are on tight budgets and hence not everyone can afford machines that will run the latest software so our goal is always to allow as much backward compatibility as possible but I might have my hand forced here – especially as the issue seems to be with just one browser.

                   

                  Thank you very much for taking the time to try to replicate the behaviour. I will spend some time now degrading my adobe so see if I can make things break again although I suspect Safari may hold onto the plugins that were installed with Reader X.

                   

                  By taking the time to post and create those samples you have enabled me to move my thinking forward so I am extremely grateful.

                   

                  Kind regards

                  Katy

                  • 6. Re: Behaviour change between secure pdfs created in v11 and v13 - require a urgent workaround
                    jrenfrew

                    Katy

                     

                    this is a great piece of troubleshooting/ research, thanks for taking the time to post so fully... helps us all.

                     

                    there is almost certainly answers by adding the password the password externally post creation, will PM you about this

                     

                    john