The JDF Advantage
Given a well constructed, intuitive interface, there is no reason the average print customer shouldn't be able to provide the required high-level information about a print job.
Once the job requirements are entered, it's crucial the information be shared between the various systems in the process, without re-keying. The machines must be able to communicate.
Just as with human communication, successful machine communication requires a common language. It's become clear that the common language for the print production process is JDF.
JDF is XML, an extensible markup language that is similar to HTML, the language of the World Wide Web.
XML is specifically intended to facilitate the transfer of data between computer systems, without requiring developers of one system to be familiar with the inner workings of the other.
JDF allows the creation of a "job ticket" that's initiated by the customer, the graphic designer or anyone with high-level knowledge of the product.
A JDF ticket is built up and added to by the various people and systems, as it proceeds through the design and production processes.
The person initiating the job can describe the ticket in JDF without knowing how it will be imposed, which press it will be printed on or even which print manufacturer will be doing the work.
The customer is helped by the system to enter a structured description of the final product. The JDF ticket, once initiated, will flow through the process to job completion and beyond.
Each system in the process must be upgraded to speak, understand and write JDF. Most developers of print workflow, prepress, press and finishing systems are developing JDF capable upgrades of their systems.
Print manufacturers with own custom software solutions can also benefit from JDF. Instead of adapting and updating the communication capability of the custom systems every time new hardware or software is added, a single investment can be made in adding JDF capability.