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CIP4 Standard--Digital Integration

September 2000

What's in an Acronym?
What is JDF? The most significant capabilities of JDF can be divided into three principal categories: JDF's ability to complete every part of a job, from start to finish; its ability to link MIS with production; and its ability to perform both of the first two tasks, no matter what tools are used.

JDF provides a mechanism to control all of the processes in print production. Unlike other job ticket formats, JDF allows the description of all the processes needed to complete a printed product, from job submission through prepress, press and postpress.

Sound familiar? It certainly did to the CIP3 consortium. JDF also provides a mechanism to allow production automation systems, or MIS, to control and track jobs. Essentially, JDF supplies a messenger service to run between MIS and production. As each process in a job executes, the results are recorded into the job to facilitate tracking each aspect.

In addition, JDF defines a messaging architecture, which includes message formats, semantics and message protocols. JDF devices use this architecture to communicate with systems that control print production facilities. System vendors, therefore, are given a great deal of flexibility in terms of how they choose to use the messaging architecture, and whether they provide both notification and control facilities.

"JDF is the missing link to implement interoperability of systems from e-commerce to print room, allowing automation of the entire publishing process," reports Johan Berlaen, general manager of R&D Systems at Agfa.

"The transfer of the initiative from the four founding companies to an open standards body is a major milestone in the adoption of JDF," he contends. "I encourage organizations, companies or individuals who want to contribute to JDF to work together with CIP4 so that JDF can be implemented worldwide for the benefit of the whole publishing and printing industry."

Within the coming months, more news will be reported concerning efforts to implement JDF into CIP4 initiatives, signaling a new turn for automated workflows and process control. It will incorporate prepress technologies, as well as e-commerce technologies working on the front end to drive process control through the pressroom and out the finishing department.

CIP3 is no more, it has evolved; and with it evolves the expectations of the printing industry as digital technologies deliver new levels of print production automation.


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