In Search of PrintTalk and JDF -- McIlroy
Wow! They're trying to create data and workflow standards for the entire graphic arts process, for the first time bridging everything from creative to delivery! I like it.
It's based on XML—I know you'll recall from my column last year ("What is XML, and Why Should You Care?" March 2000)—which is both a way of tagging content and a way of encoding information about processes. XML is proving to be a widely supported standard across the publishing and e-commerce communities. Given the intention to have JDF "streamline information exchange between different applications and systems," it makes a lot of sense to use XML for encoding the data.
Intrigued, I moved further through the site until I reached "the JDF Specification Version 1.0 is available now." I downloaded the entire 3MB, 463-page document.
A great spec, no doubt. But could it be a little over-specified?
Just this morning I was reading a fascinating and altogether irreverent broadside in the new Seybold Report. The piece, written by Dan Margulis and Chris Murphy, takes a (very) critical look at the other great recent graphic arts standard—ICC color management. The authors' conclusion is unmistakable:
"Despite a decade of hype about how universal adoption will be as rapid as it is inevitable, the concept loosely known as color management isn't even close to becoming mainstream." Ouch!
As one of the early supporters of color management, this stung me. The article goes on to catalog color management's failures: no support from large publishers or service providers, no support for RGB workflows, including "device independent" RGB, and little support for embedded ICC profiles.
The article concludes that "anybody suggesting that implementing ICC color management is easy, or using the phrase pushbutton color, should be condemned to press washup duty on the overnight shift for three years." Ouch again.