Perhaps of more significance were the hopeful signs that some of the confusing aspects of this industry effort may be resolved. For one, NGP Partners and PrintCity both have become CIP4 members, on top of memberships held by the individual companies that form these groups. NGP Partners also has committed to bringing its results back to CIP4 and working toward establishment of a single version of each Interoperability Conformance Specification (ICS) being developed for the industry at large. These developments should help address any concerns about groups within the industry working at cross purposes.

Doing a Job on Spec

The ICS concept was one of the primary advances introduced in version 1.2 of the JDF specification, which was released during Drupa. It provides a mechanism for establishing a minimum standard implementation of the specification within individual classes of devices. According to CIP4, the other big change is a complete overhaul of the preflighting description to enable standardized preflight profiles and reports.

JDF support dominated the list of capability upgrades featured in the new versions vendors rolled out across their workflow product lines. Other enhancements built on existing capabilities, such as support for the latest version of PDF, new screening options and tools to improve the client interface.

Continued expansion of the workflow concept could be seen in the upgrades to Heidelberg Prinect, Creo Network Graphic Production, the Agfa ApogeeX and Delano combination, Screen (USA) Trueflownet, EFI OneFlow and DALiM’s TWiST, MiSTRAL and PRiNTEMPO workflow solutions. Kodak Polychrome Graphics joined the ranks of system developers with the introduction of its first branded workflow solution, the KPG DirectWorks Suite, which incorporates the company’s proprietary color management into standard workflow tools.

Along with enhancing the components, Esko-Graphics unveiled a new workflow environment—called Scope—as an umbrella for modular and extensible software tools ranging from desktop software extensions to specialized workstations. Similarly, Global Graphics made its Harlequin RIP JDF-enabled, but also introduced a new “Cortex” development platform that it says will enable OEMs and system integrators to add value by integrating “best-of-breed” technology to a core layer of workflow functions.

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