4 Replies Latest reply on Jan 13, 2016 6:14 AM by DrDaveJ

    javascript extendscript sdk, oh my. . . .

    DrDaveJ Level 1

      Being new to acrobat scripting, I am having trouble just orienting myself to what is out here (or, out there). I've actually written a couple projects (.js files, invoked using .sequ Actions.

      I am running Acrobat XI Pro on Win7.

      Given that the following exist:




      Tools, Toolkit


      While I kind of understand what each one is by itself, I am confused as to how they interact, ie: when to use which. Extendscript has an entire IDE, apparently, but I am not sure how to use it. Vice the editor that comes up within Acrobat when I edit Document Scripts.

      That is, when am I (or when is any tutorial) talking about one or another? Or, when should I be using one vs. another?


      There must be a link or two I can go to that will explain this without one of you having to type for an hour!

      Can someone clear this up? Or point me in a good direction?




        • 1. Re: javascript extendscript sdk, oh my. . . .
          Karl Heinz Kremer Adobe Community Professional

          ExtendScript is for other Adobe application (e.g. Photoshop., InDesign, Illustrator, Bridge, ...) and is not supported by Acrobat. Download the Acrobat SDK, it will have all the information you need to develop with Acrobat's JavaScript implementation. When you download the SDK (or access it online), there are two "books" that are important. The first one describes what Acrobat's JavaScript can do, and how to use it. It's called "Developing Acrobat Applications Using JavaScript". The second one, the "JavaScript for Acrobat API Reference", is what you will use while developing in JavaScript - it describes every class, method and property that is available to you. Here is a link to the online documentation:


          http://help.adobe.com/en_US/acrobat/acrobat_dc_sdk/2015/HTMLHelp/index.html#t=Acro12_Maste rBook%2FJS_API_AcroJS%2FJavaScript_API.htm%23TOC_execDialogbc-139&rhtocid=_6_1_8_11_10


          If you want a jump start on JavaScript development for Acrobat, take a look at this book: Beginning JavaScript for Adobe Acrobat

          • 2. Re: javascript extendscript sdk, oh my. . . .
            DrDaveJ Level 1

            So, after reading where you sent me, and some other rabbit trails:

            JavaScript is the overall scripting language.

            ExtendScript is the additional scripting available via some application/program.

            SDK Toolkit is an editor and other resources for working with all the above.

            I think I get it.


            Another thing I picked up on is something I have been clueless about. And it will be a hassle to heed, but I will endeavor to do so. That is, as I implement scripting, I need to cognizant of my "target audience" -- the version of Acrobat or Reader they would be using; since some code was not released early enough and might not be compatible with early versions of these apps.


            So, anyway, I think you're answer got me where I need to be. Thank you!


            • 3. Re: javascript extendscript sdk, oh my. . . .
              Karl Heinz Kremer Adobe Community Professional

              JavaScript is a programming language. There are different implementations of JavaScript. The one most familiar to most people is what is used on web pages and inside your browser. When you read this, chances are that a lot of the formatting is done using Javascript. Every JavaScript implementation has two parts: The "core language" - which his the same for all JavaScript environments (I am excluding differences based on different versions of this Javascript core) - and then an application specific part that is added on top of this core language. These application specific extensions are of course specific to each application, and you cannot use e.g. web specific language extensions in Acrobat.


              ExtendScript is such an application specific version of JavaScript: It's created for the "creative" applications that Adobe sells (e.g. Photoshop, InDesign and so on). Acrobat's JavaScript is another application specific version. You will not find anything about the core language in the API documentation that I linked to earlier, it's all about the Acrobat specific part of the environment.


              The Acrobat SDK is a "Software Development Toolkit", that describes how you would program within and for Acrobat. It has different parts - the most extensive one is the plug-in interface, then there is the IAC API which is used for e.g. VBA in MS Excel or MS Word, and a small part is about Acrobat's JavaScript environment.

              The API documentation does list differences between what's available in Adobe Acrobat vs. the free Reader. So whenever you use one of these methods or properties, you want to make sure that you understand what the implications are with running your application in the free Reader.

              • 4. Re: javascript extendscript sdk, oh my. . . .
                DrDaveJ Level 1

                Excellent. I figured it would take some extensive text entry, as in the your last couple posts here, to explain all this.

                I'm sure I get it now!


                Thanks for doing that! 


                In no time, I'll be up to knowing enough to be dangerous!