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Created: April 09, 2002.
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Personalized Print Markup Language (PPML) Version 2.0 Supports Digital Print Job Ticketing.

A communiqué from Tracy Burkovich announces the release of the Personalized Print Markup Language specification version 2.0. This version of the specification includes support for digital print job ticketing, and has been endorsed by several key industry partners. PPML is designed for "XML-based, efficient printing of documents with reusable and variable content. It was developed through a special program of PODi (The Digital Printing Initiative), a consortium of leading companies in digital printing. The main purpose of the PPML language is to provide object-level addressability and reusability; it provides an open, XML-based architecture for digital print projects. 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. The PPML version 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."

Bibliographic information: PPML. Personalized Print Markup Language. Functional Specification Version 2.0. From: The PODi PPML Working Group. April 4, 2002. 144 pages.

From the specification: "Because the entire PPML architecture is XML-based, all of the content, structure, and job ticket data in a PPML 2.0 project can be generated, manipulated, extracted, subsetted, and processed in any way that is supported by common XML data tools. In addition, metadata and other types of nonprinting content can be embedded in PPML through the use of the XML namespace mechanisms. This sort of flexibility and versatility has never before been available in a print stream, illustrating the power of the PPML design..."

Excerpts from the press release:

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.

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.

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.

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: (1) Digital photo printing, for both consumer and photo-lab applications; (2) Ability to automatically generate complete PPML documents using templates, for applications as diverse as brochures, phone bills and driver's licenses; (3) Opening the design of PPML to allow more sophisticated document structures.

"PODi offers a free Developer Support discussion forum. Additional specification information available via the forum includes: (1) A PPML Quick Reference Card, which summarizes the PPML language on a single page; (2) Errata document containing the list of known errors in the attached specification, if any. To join this free service, send mail to"

Principal references:

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