PPML Version 2.0 Adds Job Ticketing
New PPML Version 2.0 Adds Job Ticketing, Expands Scope and Power Of PPML Applications
Rochester, NY, USA. April 9, 2002.
PODi, the Digital Printing initiative (www.podi.org), has announced a significant step forward for its PPML print architecture. PPML Version 2.0 has many new features. It increases automation by adding support for digital print 'job tickets,' provides better support for different workflows, and defines a method of reliably moving PPML jobs from system to system. PPML now fits the broadest range of print workflows of any XML application.
Digital Job Ticket support improves automation, increases user choices
The PPML 2.0 architecture includes generic printer control. This means PPML 2.0 jobs, including advanced printer features such as duplexing, finishing, and paper selection, can be created without knowing what machine will print them. Any PPML-compliant printer with the appropriate features will accept the same print file, no matter what software created it and what printer does the output. The PPML job ticketing architecture is designed to support ticket data in any format. The first implementation formally defined by PODi uses JDF, the Job Definition Format managed by CIP4 (www.CIP4.org). Because of PPML's open design, when other industries develop digital job tickets they can be supported by PPML.
"This initiative has driven the completion of standardization in digital print - document structure through PPML and now control information by linkage to JDF. We expect the combination to be highly effective, and are delighted that it's been supported by the major vendors in the sector," says Martin Bailey of Global Graphics Software, CEO of CIP4 (www.CIP4.org), the organization that manages JDF. "It uses a practical, focused set of JDF features to achieve the goal of interoperable file exchange from software to digital print, and should advance the shared objective of PODi and CIP4 of growing the print industry by improving efficiency."
New job transfer rules enable cross-platform transfer
Version 2 of the PPML specification also solves a persistent problem that has nagged the world of print production since the onset of personal computing: the need to create complex, multi-file projects that will transfer reliably to another machine, even on a different operating system.
"PPML 2.0 defines the first-ever guidelines for reliable file transfer in the graphic arts," says Dave deBronkart, leader of PODi standards activities. "It includes comprehensive rules for a platform-safe character set, length of file names, and directory structure. Software that conforms to these PPML 2.0 rules will create jobs that pack and unpack identically and run smoothly on different systems, even between Mac, PC and Unix/Linux platforms. This is certain to smooth workflows, simplify procedures, and reduce production costs as use of PPML spreads through a new wave of applications."
A related new feature is support for checksums -- the ability to ensure that the print job uses exactly the desired version of a graphic or other job component. Using this feature document producers will be able to transmit partial jobs to the print shop in advance, as each part becomes available, with confidence that the final print run will contain exactly the desired content. This will enable faster turnaround at deadline time and more flexibility in workflow, without complicated production control.
XML Schema support improves compatibility with industry standard tools
Finally, PPML 2.0 includes support for XML schema, an advanced set of guidelines for constructing and reading XML files. Schema support simplifies product development for both software and hardware vendors, by enabling improved control over the structure of XML streams. All advanced XML software tools support schemas, and the availability of a PPML schema will assist the adoption of PPML throughout the industry.
Work begins on next version
Work has already begun on the next version of PPML, targeted for launch within this calendar year. Activity began at the PPML Working Group meeting outside Monaco in February, and will continue in PODi's online discussion group, which is open to member companies. New applications already being considered include:
Digital photo printing, for both consumer and photo-lab applications
Ability to automatically generate complete PPML documents using templates, for applications as diverse as brochures, phone bills and driver's licenses
Opening the design of PPML to allow more sophisticated document structures
Each of these enhancements continues expanding the range of applications for which PPML is the ideal print architecture, taking advantage of its status as the only XML-based print content architecture.
The PPML specification and priorities for new features are defined by the member companies of PODi, the Digital Printing initiative. Membership information is available at www.podi.org/membership.
Statements of support from PODi member companies
"Adobe's long standing commitment to standards in both the publishing and printing industries continues as we contribute to the PODI standards initiative as an executive member to PODI. Adobe understands the need for a standard print format to represent personalized print jobs. As a key contributor to the PPML specification, we strongly support its flexible XML-based architecture utilizing other standard formats such as JDF and PDF."
Vice President, Internet Printing Group
Adobe Systems Inc.
"As a pioneer in variable information printing and a member of PODi from its inception, Creo is very pleased with the ongoing advances in PPML. Our Spire line of color servers is PPML-compatible, providing a powerful, highly productive VI solution. Our implementation of PPML takes advantage of the robust hardware and software already developed in the Spire technology. We are fully committed to promoting PPML's adoption in the industry and we will continue to increase value for our customers by supporting PPML."
Corporate Vice President
Print On-Demand Systems Group
"As an executive member of PODi, EFI is dedicated to furthering new growth opportunities in the personalized printing market using PPML. EFI's latest Fiery. controllers are PPML compatible and optimized for variable data printing and driving engines at their full rated speed. Through internal benchmark testing, EFI has consistently found significant productivity and efficiency advantages in PPML. Clearly, PPML is the wave of the future."
Vice President, Engineering
Electronics for Imaging (EFI)
"PPML is a key component of Hewlett-Packard Company's commitment to open standard interfaces. A highly efficient use of XML, it is the only format that uses open standards to deliver both content and job ticketing. The newly released HP Production Flow product is the first in the wave of HP products to employ the power of PPML. We strongly support PODi's continuing initiatives to extend PPML even further."
Vice President and General Manager
Digital Press and Workflow Solutions
"NexPress Solutions LLC is proud to be the first to incorporate the open PPML/VDX exchange format in a variable data software product. The output of our new NexTreme variable data software uses the strength of PDF for reliability, softproofing and cross-platform mobility. It also leverages the strengths of PPML for layout information, and JDF for device-independent production control. NexPress is an Executive Member of PODi, and is committed to open industry standards like PPML/VDX."
NexPress Solutions LLC
"Xerox is committed to supporting PPML 2.0 as it enhances our existing variable information solutions. The new version of PPML 2.0 will allow Xerox to deliver even more powerful one-to-one solutions to our customers, which in turn, allows them to create personalized marketing messages to their end customers."
Senior Vice President
Xerox Production Services
"Banta Integrated Media's Publishing Solutions Group is dedicated to providing software development and consulting services to the graphic arts industry. Banta's DesignMerge XTensionsTM for QuarkXPress is PPML compatible and interfaces easily to provide users with an optimized digital printing experience. We strongly support PODi and its mission to enhance the digital printing infrastructure by promoting interoperability through standards."
Banta Integrated Media -- Publishing Solutions.
"Datalogics is committed to the support of PPML within our DL Formatter product line, which presents companies with an advanced yet easy to use variable data application. With the evolution of the personalized communications market, companies are increasingly seeking tools that offer flexibility for implementing 1-to-1 marketing strategies. We are pleased to offer the PPML output option in DL Formatter to provide customers with an assortment of output types to feed a variety of digital printers."
Vice President of Marketing
"To support industry-wide adoption of PPML, Edmond Research & Development will publish Open Source for its PPML-to-PostScript converter at its new PPML site, www.ppml.info. Edmond, a developer of high-volume transactional print software, is committed to PPML as the engine to drive the convergence of graphic arts and transactional print. Our first Open Source will support PPML 2.0 with PostScript, and work is underway to create a complete Graphics Arts Conformance version, including a viewer and support for PDF, TIFF and JPEG content."
Co-founder and Technical Director
Edmond Research & Development
"With Exstream's Dialogue benchmarked as the fastest composition engine in the world today, we are very sensitive to performance issues. The PostScript world struggled for years with performance issues, mostly due to problems with reuse of image resources. PPML addresses these issues and brings performance in the PostScript world up to the levels of the older, simpler print languages, and does so with an open, extensible architecture. This makes PPML a natural fit for Dialogue, and will help speed the move to full color printing."
Vice President, Software Development
"PPML provides GMC PrintNet users two key features, speed and accuracy: Speed because our production output creation modules do not have to process image data when creating print streams and accuracy because the PPML printer controller is able to use the same image files for production output that the graphic artist created. As one of the first vendors to release a native PPML print emitter, GMC Software Technology strongly supports PODi's efforts to enhance the PPML standard and expand the personalized print market."
Technical Director, USA
GMC Software Technology
"IBM supports the PPML standard within IBM's AFP workflow for complex, color printing of variable content documents, one of the fastest-growing ebusiness applications. By supporting PPML, IBM is providing customers the maximum value from its systems and a solution to best address the needs for producing full-color, variable content output."
Manager, Enterprise Color Marketing
IBM Printing Systems
"Pageflex is proud to have been continuously involved in the development of PPML since its inception. Earlier this year, Pageflex released a PPML driver for Persona, our desktop product for variable data. Mpower 3.5--Pageflex's software for Web-to-print custom publishing, which is currently scheduled for release in May--will include a PPML 2.0 compatible driver. Pageflex congratulates PODi and all of the vendors who collaborated on the release of PPML 2.0, and supports PODi's on going efforts to further standardization and the growth of variable data printing in the marketplace."
Vice President of Sales and Marketing
"Grown out of the first company ever to release products supporting the PPML variable data standard, Xeikon International is determined to sustain its active role in the development and adoption of PPML. After IPEX, Xeikon International releases its latest enhanced version of PPML input on the Xeikon IntelliStream front-end. By optimizing the IntelliStream front-end for PPML input, variable data printing jobs can be produced more easily, reliably and in a very efficient manner."
Dirk Van Thillo
Director of Marketing
PODi leads the evolution of the digital printing infrastructure by promoting interoperability through standards and advances the opportunities in digital printing technology through market development activities including the publication of articles and industry speaking engagements. Membership in PODi is open to leading vendors and developers involved in digital printing. Additional information regarding PODi may be obtained by calling (585) 239- 6063 or on the World Wide Web at http://www.podi.org
PPML provides an open, XML-based architecture for digital print projects of all kinds. PPML applications to be developed in the next twelve months include photo finishing and automatic, template-based page layout. PPML was first introduced to the market at the worldwide 'drupa' exhibition in Dusseldorf in May, 2000, and has become the first widely-adopted print stream based entirely on an open standard, XML.
Additional information regarding PODi activities may be obtained at the following address.
PODi, the Digital Printing initiative
150 Lucius Gordon Drive, Suite 203
West Henrietta, NY 14586
*Note new area code for 2002