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IBM Offers First Production Printing Support For XML

Press release from the issuing company

New Printing Software From IBM Streamlines Output From XML Applications BOULDER, CO--Mar 5, 2002 -- IBM today announced Print Services Facility (PSF) V3.3 for OS/390 and z/OS to enable printing directly from XML (Extensible Markup Language) applications to high-speed production printers, while guaranteeing output fidelity, print completion, and charge-back capability. A first in the production printing market, the solution is designed for customers needing to print data that is structured using XML, the emerging data format for application integration. Since IBM first introduced Advanced Function Presentation (AFP) in 1984, it has become a de facto industry standard for high-function, system-managed printing in centralized and distributed environments. Today, the growth of e-business demands that existing AFP applications be Web-enabled to streamline business processes within and between enterprises, often using XML to optimize application integration. "In addition to print, our customers now want to Web-enable AFP-based information for access via enterprise portals, on the company's Web site, or as electronic output delivered directly over the Internet. XML is a key technology in this expansion and IBM's PSF V3.3 production printing support for XML will further extend the viability of our customers' investment in AFP," said Rich Troksa, business line executive, enterprise printing, IBM Printing Systems. Traditional methods for printing XML structured data use the formatting language of an XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language) style sheet to transform XML data into formatted objects, and then transform the formatted objects into a specific printer language such as PostScript or PCL. This conversion method is slow due to the number of steps involved in preparing the data for print, especially in production printing environments, which produce high-volume runs of bills, invoices, bank statements or marketing collateral, for example. PSF V3.3 is the only OS/390-based software for driving AFP page printers, with full support for AFP/IPDS (Intelligent Printer Data Stream) printers from a variety of vendors. Reduced Total Cost of Printing, Improved Productivity PSF V3.3 for OS/390 and z/OS can lower an enterprises' overall cost of printing by reducing costs associated with: - Print application maintenance - Printer operations - Pre-printed forms inventory, ordering, and obsolescence - Under-utilized desktop printers in distributed environments - Reprinting of jobs due to errors, interventions, or mis-routing In addition, IBM's PSF V3.3 supports a new type of page layout within an AFP page definition that lets users specify formatting for XML structured data, speeding up first page to print time and thereby increasing productivity. When PSF processes the XML data file with an XML page layout it converts the output directly into the IPDS so it can be printed on production speed AFP printers. "The addition of XML printing support to PSF helps our OS/390 and z/OS customers achieve integration of their applicationsand business processes across the enterprise and among partners, suppliers and customers. It provides another critical building block in their infrastructure for the output of e-business," concluded Mr. Troksa. Pricing and Availability PSF V3.3 will be generally available on March 29, 2002 as a no-charge upgrade for PSF V3 customers. For more information, visit www.ibm.com/printers