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Integration, Beyond PURLs —Sherburne

November 2009
IN AUGUST we talked about using personalized URLs (PURLs) to promote your own business and as a service for your customers as an aspect of integrated marketing—integrating print with the Web, in this case.

I recently came across a white paper authored by Jacob Aizikowitz, currently president of XMPie, a Xerox company, entitled “Can Print Personalization Be Highly Creative and Efficient? Expanding Beyond the Form Metaphor.” While this is a vendor white paper, it is written in a very neutral manner and discusses an important topic well worth reading. It can be downloaded from the XMPie Website (www.xmpie.com). 

The paper takes the concept of integrated marketing well beyond PURLs and identifies some key considerations for anyone thinking about adding variable data printing (VDP) to the mix or updating VDP software infrastructure.

Solid Pedigree

For those of you who may not know Aizikowitz, he is in a unique position to write about this topic. In a recent interview, he said, “I was fortunate to be in the eye of the storm. I moved from IBM to Scitex in the spring of 1996. At the time, development work was proceeding on controllers to support a future technology, which ultimately became Kodak Versamark. We were also working with Xerox on a controller to serve what would later become the Xerox iGen. 

“So we were exposed, through controller and software development projects, to the early stages of these two ground-breaking press projects.” 

With his background at IBM and Cornell, Aizikowitz understood the value of object-based languages and introduced the concept at Scitex. The result was the first object-oriented variable data language, VPS, which was used by Scitex Darwin and the Scitex controller. 

Why is this important? When Benny Landa made his big splash at Drupa 1995 with Indigo, and the potential for color digital imaging engines to deliver high-value
color, variable data printing became big news, there was not a single object-oriented language available. Early variable data work was all forms-based. That meant that a form, consisting of the static information that would appear on each sheet, was RIP’d and stored at the controller. 

The form designated areas where variable data should appear, and a variable data stream was then merged with the form. While the form itself did not need to be reprocessed at the RIP, all of the variable data had to be processed for each page. If the data was simply text, the controller could usually keep up with processing speeds.

 

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