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JDF Product Certification Program Is Launched PIA/GATF to Certify MIS Systems and Prepress Applications

Press release from the issuing company

Sewickley, PA (July 4, 2006) - The International Cooperation for the Integration of the Processes in Prepress, Press and Postpress (CIP4) organization and Printing Industries of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (PIA/GATF) announced today the launch of the long-awaited JDF (Job Definition Format) Product Certification Program. The JDF Product Certification Program provides testing of JDF-enabled software. Products that successfully complete testing will be issued a "JDF Certified" logo. This logo can be used on product packaging and promotional materials to convey to buyers that products have been certified to meet established guidelines for interoperability. The foundation of the JDF Product Certification Program is the Interoperability Conformance Specification (ICS) documents, created by CIP4 technical working groups over the last three years. Each ICS document is focused on a specific interface between two types of graphic arts systems. For instance, the first set of tests available are based on the "Layout Creator to Imposition" ICS document. This ICS defines the interface between a layout creation tool and a consumer of the fully populated JDF "layout resource"-the files and metadata required by output devices. The layout creation tool may be entirely manually driven, or it may be controlled using the JDF processes. Tools that consume the layout resource files and metadata may include a device that produces an imposed content file or prepress workflow system that performs RIPing and imposition. Companies interested in certification should register their product on the CIP4 website, and a member of PIA/GATF's staff will contact them to coordinate testing details. PIA/GATF will run, write, and read tests on registered products depending on if the tested product supports input and output of JDF. If your product is only a manager, then PIA/GATF will test with only write files, while if it is only a worker, it will be tested with read files. The files used in testing are universal for the ICS being tested. They are based on "golden tickets" developed by CIP4 technical working groups. These files have been developed based on the requirements of the Layout Creator to Imposition ICS document, and the test files ensure that each of the requirements established in the ICS can be appropriately evaluated. "The CIP4 staff is continually asked, 'How do I know if a product really supports JDF?'" said Dr. Rainer Prosi of Heidelberg and CIP4. "For many printers JDF seems quite complicated, and they are looking for simplification. With JDF Product Certification, printers don't need to conduct exhaustive evaluations of JDF-enabled products; they'll know that these certified products will support JDF standards. Certification doesn't mean "plug-n-play." When two JDF-enabled devices are integrated, they still need to be set up appropriately, and certification means that the products are interoperable." "The JDF Certification Program is the beginning of a new era for PIA/GATF," says Mark Bohan, PIA/GATF's Director, Research and Integrated Technology. "Many vendors have expressed a desire to attain JDF certification, so we expect this program to expand quickly. JDF Product Certification for the MIS to Conventional Sheetfed Printing and the MIS to Prepress ICS documents will be introduced in the near future, and several other ICS documents are in development. Within the next year or two, JDF Product Certification will be a critical buying criterion for printers and prepress services in North America and around the world." Further details on the JDF Product Certification Program, including links to the vendor registration page, can be found at http://www.cip4.org/overview/interoperability_and_certification.html. Vendors who want to inquire about certification may call Brandon Iskey, Computational Research Scientist at PIA/GATF and the JDF Certification Program administrator, at 1-800-910-4283 ext. 787 or +1 412-259-1787 for international callers.

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