What is PAD XML File?

Portable Application Description (PAD) is a format for machine-readable documents. It was created by the Association of Software Professionals and launched in 1998. Over 6,000 software publishers use PAD for their downloadable applications across Windows, OS X, and Linux. The PAD mark is globally registered by the Association of Software Professionals and is overseen by the ASP PAD Committee.

PAD helps software creators offer consistent product descriptions and details to online platforms in a uniform manner through a simple XML schema. This schema makes it easier for webmasters and program librarians to automatically add new software to their catalogs and update existing entries. Using PAD saves time for both the authors and the webmasters, and it keeps up with the latest updates in operating systems and hardware.

Generally, PAD files are saved with the .XML or .PAD extensions. The format uses a straightforward XML structure without the need for name/value pairs in the tags, which are free of attributes. The official PAD guidelines use distinct tags that allow field extraction without needing to follow the tag path. However, parsing might require navigating the tag path if the PAD file includes multiple languages because the same tags are repeated for each supported language.

Each field in the PAD format is linked with a specific regular expression. This expression acts as a filter: if a field matches the expression, it's considered valid; if not, the field—and potentially the entire PAD file—doesn't meet the standard. Only those PAD files where every field passes this validation are recognized as compliant.

The latest update to PAD, version 4.00, was released on December 1, 2012, replacing the earlier version 3.11, which was announced on June 12, 2010.

Update to Version 4.0
The recent update, PAD v4.0, was shaped with contributions from members of the Association of Software Professionals, continuing a practice since 1998. With this significant update, ASP removed all its free tools and requested that all related third-party software for PAD editing and submission be discontinued. A new web-based platform by AppVisor.com was introduced for handling PAD specifications, allowing publishers to update their PAD files from v3.1 to v4.0. However, these updated PAD files couldn’t be exported; they could only be submitted directly to certain directories, with a submission fee of $150 and an annual approval fee of $36.

ASP ceased accepting new members in mid-2020 and officially stopped operations on December 31, 2021. As of April 2024, AppVisor.com also shut down.

Several software download sites like BrotherSoft.com, Softonic.com, CNET Download.com, and Softpedia.com continue to accept the PAD v4.0 format alongside older versions.

The PAD format continues to be utilized by numerous software distribution websites. Therefore, SoftwareXML.com is committed to bridging the gap left by AppVisor. We at SoftwareXML.com believe that developers will still require a centralized PAD hosting website similar to AppVisor to sustain their operations.

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