PAD® FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
v4.02 © AppVisor.com and the Assocation of Software ProfessionalsContact: ASP PAD CHAIR, Joeld@appvisor.com
Q: What does PAD stand for?
A: The term stands for “Portable Application Description” and defines a very specific file format in XML, that provides consistent and standardized fields for governing the information about a software application. The Association of Software Professionals originally created this format in 1999 to help promote, market, and distribute downloadable software applications on third-party websites.
Q: Why do authors need PAD?
A: Authors are constantly asked for information about their products, either in web-based forms or by request through email. The PAD dataset contains all the most frequently-requested information and it is all in one place! Nearly 1000+ download and software content sites are actively basing their published content about applications on the PAD file submissions by software publishers.
Q: Why should vendors and webmasters support PAD?
A: Imagine getting all the information you need in one shot without having to go back to the Author for more info! By using an XML extractor you can obtain the information you need quickly and easily! The latest PAD Specification v4.0 can be found here.
Q: Who owns PAD and who can use it?
A: The ASP has ownership of the PAD Specification format. This includes the copyright for intellectual property format, the trademark for PAD (certified mark) and other marks. Any publisher that uses a PAD file is given a free license to use the PAD Specification, as long as the publisher commits to using the latest specification version, validation, and authoring tools. The ASP also owns the certified trademark of the PAD Specification and requires all third party sites and service providers who base their products or services on PAD files to sign a license giving them permission. Contact the ASP’s PAD Chair here:http://pad.asp–software.org for further information.
Q: What tools do I use, or where do I start in creating a PAD file for my application?
A: Prior to the release of the latest PAD Specification v4.0, you could use a number of desktop-based authoring tools to both author and update a PAD file. ASP’s own freeware tool, PADGEN v3.11, is being replaced by a totally new web-based solution, AppVisor.com. Publishers can author new PAD files and import their v3.11 PAD files for their applications by immediately going to http://publisher.appvisor.com. After a successful registration, the PAD authoring and publishing web tool will support both a new PAD file for your new application or importing your existing PAD file. When you are completed, the PAD Validator reviews and automatically checks each required PAD field in real time. When your PAD file is validated, your v4.0 PAD file will be published and added to the “Global PAD Repository” at http://repository.appvisor.com.
Q: What is the PAD Repository?
A: The ASP and its partner, AppVisor.com, have set up a global repository of authenticated PAD files that use the latest specification v4.0. It can be found at http://repository.appvisor.com. The repository has several purposes, including identifying that a publishers application PAD file has been certified and authenticated, and the hosting of the publishers PAD file. This enables the repository to help both publishers and PAD sites to improve submissions, tracking and authentication of the publishers application information.
Q: What happened to the prior PAD repository hosted on the ASP website?
A: It has been taken off-line and is no longer available. The former ASP repository had an open submission system, without any formal rules or qualifications required for adding a PAD file. Over recent years, several problems arose with the repository, due to a lack of oversight. For example, “rogue” third parties extracted the PAD database from the repository and sold it commercially without permission. Also, a large volume of PAD submissions containing obvious spam, fraud, and malware-infested content was submitted to the repository.
Q: How can I get support for PAD?
A. If you are a publisher using PAD or interested in using PAD for online promotion and distribution, there has been support for ASP members on the ASP site forum and newsgroup. Please stop by and post your questions here: http://asp.pad_support. Websites and service providers who are not members of the ASP need to contact the PAD SPEC Chair through the ASP website to learn where to find support for non-ASP Members. For publishers who have registered on publishers.appvisor.com, you can contact support at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What does a PAD File look like?
A: PAD uses an established web technology called XML! With XML, data can be easily extracted and parsed by any XML toolkit. The actual XML v4.0 PAD Specification is available here. We already have a complete set of tools available for vendors, authors, and end users alike. The latest versions of major browsers, including Google Chrome, Firefox, and MS Internet Explorer will automatically parse an XML file for easy display the content. You can also save the XML file to your hard drive and view in any text reading desktop tool.
Q: The Software Industry changes in a snap. With the rapid growth of the Internet is the PAD Dataset Extensible?
A: Yes. As the industry changes, including major updates to the Microsoft Windows operating system or Apple Mac IOS, the specification is updated to address the need to support applications information with these major OS releases. In addition, new fields are and have been added to the specification, based on both proposed needs by the PAD websites and publishers. The latest specification v4.0 has added support for social networks links and related video content about an application, while creating several critical security fields to protect publishers’ intellectual property and improve authentication. Prior third-party extensions support for affiliate links, RSS feeds, and press release content have also been formally added to the PAD dataset.
Q: I need information about products that isn’t in the PAD dataset. Can I add fields?
A: We are aware that many publishers have information about their products that are not supported in the latest specification. This used to be handled by an open system of PAD Extensions in v3.10 prior to release of PAD v4.0. Two changes in v4.0 help publishers and Pad-supported sites. The latest PAD Spec has eliminated the support for unsupported third-party extensions, but allows PAD Sites to add site-specific custom fields on Appvisor.com that are specific to their sites. There are already plans for a greatly-enhanced dataset for the next PAD Spec v4.1, planned for the first quarter of 2013. Publishers registered on AppVisor.com will learn about these plans on their control panel. ASP members can contact the PAD Specification committee on the ASP PAD web forum with questions and proposals for changes in the specification.
Q: Well This PAD stuff sounds great, but it looks complicated to create. Is there an easy way to generate the PAD file?
A: Yes, a completely new web-based authoring tool for v4 has been created to replace all prior authoring tools. It is available for free at http://www.appvisor.com. Once your PAD file is in v4.0 format, this new platform will offer you the ability to update or modify any PAD-related information instantly while also providing real-time validation.
Q: Where is my PAD file stored using the v4.0 format?
A: Prior to v4.0, a publisher’s PAD file required a permanent hosting path/URL. Submission of the PAD file to a website required this. Other sites required publishers to submit a URL to their PAD file and extract the information for addition to their website. Both methods were extremely complicated as it took about 15 minutes per site for a successful submission.
Beginning with v4.0, a PAD file published on AppVisor will automatically generate a PAD hosting URL requiring the PAD file to be hosted on the Global PAD Repository, available at http://repository.appvisor.com. An example of the PAD Hosting URL would look like this: http://repository/appvisor.com/nameofapp.xml.
Q:What does a PAD Site do with my PAD file after submission?
A: The majority of PAD Supported sites ask for only the URL to your PAD file, and they do the rest, importing all your file descriptions, sizes, and product information directly from your web site. Remember that a number of sites automatically check your PAD files for changes on a regular schedule. This is called “Polling”. If you are updating your PAD file, many sites compare your latest PAD file version with their current listing. If they see that you have updated version of the PAD file or if information has been updated, they will replace their existing information with the latest information in updated PAD. file, they update their lists immediately.
Q: All this sounds great but how much is it going to cost to use the latest PAD standard?
A: If you are a member of the ASP and a software publisher, it’s entirely free. If you run a website that supports submission of PAD files, a free license is all that is required to maintain and continue the submission of PAD files to your site.
Q: Do I have to fill in all the fields?
A: Not entirely. The PAD Validator contains the rules of what fields must be filled in and what fields can be left blank. In some cases, the PAD specification will automatically generate fields holding unique tracking and security information to protect both the publisher and his application from fraud. Since PAD files are used to communicate information between your company and inquiring vendors, if you leave a field blank, and a website has chosen to display that field online, your product entries may appear incomplete on the site. Remember that you are using the PAD specification to sellyour product, thus you should fill out as much information as possible.
Q: If I am upgrading to PAD v4,00 why do I have to change the URL in the PAD file that points back to where my PAD file is hosted? (This is referring to the PAD XML URL field on the Web Info page in PADGen.)
A: PAD files are used for more than file descriptions; they are also used for automatically updating web sites. If you do not include this field then sites will not be able to automatically poll your PAD file to see if your product has been updated. PAD v4 NOW automatically generates a URL that resides in the PAD repository. This will greatly help sites will be able to quickly access your latest version of your PAD file (information). No intervention is necessary. If you were to submit a v4.0 PAD file without the REPOSITORY PAD hosting URL that is in repository, there is a very good chance that your existing listings with websites may be removed.
Q:How does a v4.00 PAD change where a PAD file is stored, compared to my old v3.11?
A: The big change is that updated PAD v4.0 and newly created PAD 4.0 files are hosted exclusively on the AppVisor repository. Your pre-existing v3.xx PAD file(s) that are hosted on the your website should need to be both removed and should be redirected to the new host URL path on the AppVisor.com Repository.
Q: What do I name my PAD file under v4.0 and where will it be stored?
A: The AppVisor.com PAD authoring and publishing tools will automatically NAME your PAD file before it is added to the repository. AppVisor will not add version or numbering system in the PAD file name. Instead, Appvisor will use the unique ProductID in your PAD file name that is automatically generated.
Q:Why does my PAD 4.0 download location change to an Appvisor forwarding URL?
A: Under PAD v4.0, we do not replace PAD URL. A valid PAD 4 file is hosted in the Official PAD Repository for security reasons. The PAD Hosting URL on the Official PAD Repository is placed the PAD XML Info URL field. The old 3.x PAD file remains intact on the publisher’s web site. Publishers are strongly advised to replace an existing PAD XML on their website with a HTTP redirect to their PAD4 URL location in the Official PAD Repository.
Q: Can I just fill in the 45-character description field and leave the rest blank?
A: Remember that the contents of your PAD file are acting as your salesperson; fill in all of the description fields and use as many characters as allowed. Some sites might set a default for using the 2000-character fields while others will start at the 2000 and move downwards until they find content. Either way, if you don’t use these fields, your product won’t have as detailed a description as other products on the same sites.
Q: I have several screenshots. Why can’t I point to an HTML page in the Screenshot URL?
A: Automation is key here. Some sites will display your screenshot directly on their pages as part of your product listing, and some will send visitors to your pages for details and screenshots. Providing a link to a graphic works for both cases. Provide your best screenshot so that webmasters can show it to their visitors.
Q: Can I use the ICO file that I used in my application for my icon?
A: No, you should convert it to a GIF, JPG, or PNG file. Browsers do not know how to display ICO files.
Q: What should I use for my icon URL?
A: First, your icon should be the standard 32×32 size. If a site uses the WIDTH and HEIGHT properties in their IMG tag then your image specified in your icon URL could look very strange. Then, use a GIF, JPG, or PNG format (see above).
Q: If I cannot find an appropriate category in the existing category list for my app , what should I do?
A: The PAD Specification needs to change and grow with the software industry, operating systems updates, devices, platforms, etc, Following the release of v4.0, the next major update of the PAD Specification will have an updated list of new platforms (Mobile, Tablet, SaaS) and include new categories for these platforms. We also recognize where the existing categories have not kept up with changes in software applications, online gaming, like online backup, cloud services, web CRM solutions and other enterprise solutions. These are certainly to be included in the next specification update. We actively encourage and invite all software developers to submit their desired categories through the ASP PAD forum on http://www.asp-software.org. (Membership required)
PAD®, PADGen, and PADKit are trademarks of the Association of Shareware Professionals in the United States and/or other countries. Please refer to “PAD Rights, Requirements, and Usage Guidelines” on the ASP PAD website. All contents are Copyright ©2013 by AppVisor.com. Parts Association of Software Professionals All Rights Reserved.