Commentary & Analysis
Dear ODJ: Do We Really Need JDF?
By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: June 27, 2005
June 27, 2005 --Comments begin arriving about Bob Raus' June 7 column where he questioned JDF as part of a business strategy: I was dismayed to read Bob Raus' extremely ill-informed article on June 7 regarding JDF in the latest OnDemand Journal. It's painfully obvious that your trip around the OnDemand show floor did not give you a comprehensive view of what JDF is. One of your main points seems to be that XML is a much better, widely adapted standard than JDF. When, in fact, JDF IS XML. XML is simply a method of describing data. It has to be adapted to the person, business or industry that is using it. This is exactly what CIP4 is doing with JDF. Defining how we can use XML to describe a print job. Taken directly from the CIP4 web site (http://www.cip4.org): "JDF is a comprehensive XML-based file format and proposed industry standard for end-to-end job ticket specifications combined with a message description standard and message interchange protocol." JDF is simply a subset of XML. Many of the integrations and implementations of printing systems with other non-printing-specific systems via JDF have been accomplished to date have been done very simply because of the ability to map, essentially, XML to XML. Integrating a JDF based workflow with another XML based system - for example, UPS/FedEX, banking systems, AdsML, etc, etc, etc - is extremely simple because all of these systems are based on XML. Eric J. Andersen Electronic Prepress Specialist The Oldham Group Bob Raus Responds Hi Eric, Thank you for the letter. You correctly state that JDF is a subset of XML --and that because it is XML, it is easily integrated with other XML based systems. I agree with this point as well. In fact both of these points actually illustrate one of the key areas I was making in my June 7 article. That is once a standard (such as JDF) is fully defined - everyone will have full access to it. This is a good thing in many ways because (assuming the products each have the same "JDF-API calls" -- a big leap in my opinion) I makes integration between disparate products easier. On the other hand --once everyone has access to it -- it will immediately negate any competitive advantage a company had by allowing all competitors to do the exact same thing. So, while everyone (including Océ) is committed to making software products JDF compliant, the dilemma remains: Do I want to base my business success on a standard that everyone has complete access to, or do I want to pick-and-choose APIs within JDF to use and then also add my own unique tweaks and improvements to develop/keep a competitive advantage? While I certainly understand that XML can used very effectively to integrate various systems and processes, a business person must ask themselves if they want to bet their future business success on a standard that is partially implemented today and will eventually level the playing field for all who use it. Bob Robert W. Raus Jr. Director, Software and Professional Services Marketing Océ North America, Inc.