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Client/Server--Bolstering Throughput

September 1999
Prinergy can scale its client/server architecture to increase system throughput in small-to-large commercial printing operations. The objective: Add software and hardware components until the workflow is keeping up with the pace of CTP.


BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO


Client/server technology has been implemented in many industries. Whether booking reservations for air travel or making a last-minute stop at an ATM, both are direct links to some form of client/server architecture designed to improve speed and performance.

Now, prepress is following suit.

Yes, client/server architecture—a term just vague enough to encompass a variety of digital workflow solutions that link users at their desktops to the servers processing their files—is targeting prepress.

Why? The benefits of client/server architecture in prepress include: wider access to information on the server; improved visibility in a digital workflow; improved communication across shifts, departments and locations; and improved system reliability—one client workstation can crash without affecting other users.

The newest such solution to hit the block is Prinergy, a page-based workflow solution launched at Seybold San Francisco last month by Creo and Heidelberg Prepress.

Prinergy is the first workflow management system, to date, that utilizes not only Adobe PDF, but also Adobe Extreme, a prepress architecture based on Adobe PostScript 3 that uses Adobe PDF and the Adobe Portable Job Ticket Format (PJTF) to automate prepress processes. Prinergy's goal is to provide a distributed digital workflow. As a client/server architecture, Prinergy sports a universal interface, allowing for cross-platform publishing.

"When we were defining the requirements of our new workflow system, a multi-client/multi-server model was at the very top of the list. Bottlenecks change quickly in prepress, and a printer needs a flexible system that can adapt software and hardware resources to keep pace with the platesetter and the presses," reports Creo's Shannon MacLeod, product manager for Prinergy. "Because Prinergy was designed with distribution in mind, we made specific choices about which software protocols and standards to use."

Working with Heidelberg Prepress, Creo chose CORBA (a TCP-IP Internet protocol) for the link between the client software and server software. This enables remote access and WAN environments, with multiple clients at servers at different locations. Creo also chose JAVA for the client (user interface application) software, which can run on either a Mac or Windows workstation.

"We chose Adobe's Extreme as the communications and processing hub," MacLeod adds. "Extreme is client/server capable, with multiple software engines running on multiple servers."
 

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