Some Lessons on JDF –Waldman

Both were extremely knowledgeable and their enthusiasm was contagious. Robin Tobin, senior manager of marketing for Adobe, also responded quickly with whatever information or resource I needed. And CIP4’s Website,, was invaluable, as were articles that Mark Smith wrote in previous issues of this magazine.

I’m sure that many of you were way ahead of me on understanding JDF, and what impact it will have on our industry. But for those that are not as familiar, let me offer a brief explanation. JDF (which stands for Job Definition Format) is based on XML or Extensible Mark-up Language. In simple terms, it allows information to piggy-back with a file. For example, if you created a job in your favorite JDF-compliant desktop publishing program, details like page size and number of pages are already known and can be incorporated into the JDF file automatically. Other information, like quantity and delivery details, would have to be entered manually.

Smart Files, Machines

The file can also interact with devices if they are JDF compliant. For example, it can capture color settings on its trip through prepress and automatically set the ink fountains on the press. It can report back any job information to your accounting department, provided that your MIS system is JDF compliant. It can let you know exactly where it is in the job cycle, with the option of reporting this information directly to your customer.

So as this file is whizzing through the shop, it’s collecting and dispersing information. Plus, it’s controlling equipment. Moreover, JDF can interact with other databases like CRM and supply chain information if, of course, they are JDF compliant. This is important because it can help printers do more for their clients. For example, automating the coordination of external components that accompany the brochure you just printed—those value-added services we have all been talking about.

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