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JDF Update -- Print Connectivity

May 2004
by marie alonso

Business Development Consultant

The three most prominent features of JDF are its ability to carry a print job from concept through completion, its ability to bridge the communication gap between production and management information services, and its ability to do so under nearly any precondition.

JDF, JOB Definition Format, is without question the most significant and viable integration initiative targeting print connectivity today. The road to realizing the benefit from JDF integration has been a long one. There have been many milestones along the way—and Drupa 2004 is the biggest one in the ultimate quest for print connectivity. JDF has been steadily building momentum. Drupa 2004 will see the delivery of new levels of integration and performance for this next-level automation of print production performance.

JDF is an open standard job ticketing language that provides the foundation for users to build next-generation printing environments that encompass both the content and the business aspects of production workflow. The Job Definition Format is a comprehensive, XML-based file format for end-to-end job ticket specifications combined with a message description standard and message interchange protocol.

The JDF Idea

JDF was created to develop an open, extensible, XML-based job ticket standard, as well as a mechanism to provide new business opportunities for all individuals and companies involved in the process of creating, managing and producing published documents.

Building on existing technologies such as the Print Production Format (PPF) developed by CIP4 (International Cooperation for the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press and Postpress) and Adobe's Portable Job Ticket Format (PJTF), JDF supplies a means for printing businesses to streamline the process of producing printed material.

In the past few years, the demand for greater unification of mechanized and automated systems has led to the advent of specification formats. These formats spawned a generation of systems in the mid-1990s that began to provide the ability to link certain elements of the prepress, press and postpress processes.

The formats, however, had inherent limitations and proprietary architectures. For example, they could address only certain aspects of a print job, they could do little to help in the authoring and revision processes, and they could not provide production automation systems with the ability to control and track jobs.

However, limitations and all, these formats have paved the way for improving the existing architecture, and indeed for improving the graphic arts industry as a whole.

In recent years, there has been a call for the printing and publishing industries to create two things: a standards-based, supply-chain infrastructure and a set of protocols specific to the process of creating, manufacturing and distributing printed information.
 

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