printCafe vs. PrintTalk--Waging a PrintWar?
Third-party e-commerce companies can also integrate into printCafe using the PCX process, which begins with a selection of industry standards for data exchange from industry groups like the GCA, CIP4 and also using Ariba's cXML. However, third parties must first go through a certification process, which is overseen by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to ensure the compatibility of the software for maximum performance, explains Olin. "All third parties must be certified, not just e-commerce companies." The decision to partner with RIT was a result of printCafe's experience in the EDI environment, where communication disputes arose from using multiple software vendors.
"There were often disputes between the two parties over making the communication happen seamlessly. There was a lot of finger pointing involved," he admits. "We needed to have an arbitration party that could test and validate that the communication was set up and working between the parties. We saw RIT as an organization within the industry that was beyond reproach, which could certify the communications so that our customers could feel secure that the connectivity was set up correctly."
While printCafe has developed its PCX framework for integration, PrintTalk has taken a different approach. The PrintTalk implementation is available free of charge to anyone who wants to download it from its Website, printtalk.org. PrintTalk defines its mission as developing a common and open communications interface among its members' products. Even so, it is quick to clarify that it is not a standards body. Instead, PrintTalk sees itself as an implementation organization.
"We want to do things in a very standard way," says Mekis. "I've been in this industry long enough to say we don't need another standard. We have enough standards. We need to get them applied and working, rather than just having bodies working on more standards. We are really focused around being a group that does things."