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DRUPA 2000--CIP3 Developments

June 2000
BY CLINT BOLTE


Representatives of the 43 member companies of the International Cooperation for Integration of Prepress, Press and Postpress (CIP3)—two companies joined during DRUPA—used this international venue as another opportunity to meet and discuss the evolving status of their efforts to develop integrated production standards leading to computer integrated manufacturing (CIM).

Increasing anticipation in this meeting was evident due to two developments: the fourth "P" for Process to represent the new Job Definition Format (JDF), as well as the potential juggernaut of JDF versus printCafe's PCX specifications.

Forged by Adobe, Agfa, MAN Roland and Heidelberg beginning nearly a year and a half ago, the JDF initiative is an XML-based print workflow specification framework for the integration of business and management information. The JDF/PDF (portable document format) print supply chain is comprised of four distinct areas: (1) create/ author by interagency, department or outsource; (2) assemble by corp-orate design or publisher; (3) management by supply chain or electronic commerce intermediary; and (4) print production. JDF is intended to be a new standard, considered to be an extension of the print production format (PPF) for CIP3; a facilitater of the integration of all processes (business, management and production) within a fully automated workflow; and therefore, an enabler for CIM.

A closed meeting of the CIP3 vendors was held May 23 at DRUPA to consider the cooperative's next tasks and time lines. The group voted to begin the integration of the JDF specifications into CIP3. A white paper detailing JDF and the draft of JDF specifications were prepared just before the trade show opened. These can be downloaded from www.job-definition-format.org.

The consortium wants feedback from the international print and vendor community to these draft specifications. They hope to have a spec. 1.0 prepared and announced at Seybold San Francisco in August. This will then be submitted to an international standards body for the approvals process.

Shortly before DRUPA, printCafe announced its PCX specification. This interface details how to build XML and other Internet-based data streams to exchange information through printCafe's customer-branded Websites. Bill Guttman, chairman and CEO of printCafe, depicted the PCX interface by a series of interconnected circles, as displayed in the diagram above.

The three companies—CreoScitex, Komori and MAN Roland—are currently listed as members of both CIP3 and printCafe and, therefore, might help minimize the potential divergence of JDF and PCX.
 

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