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CIP4 Releases Specifications for Print eCommerce and Automation

Press release from the issuing company

Washington, DC (March 28, 2008) - The International Cooperation for the Integration of the Processes in Prepress, Press and Postpress (CIP4) organization today announced the release of the PrintTalk 1.3 Schema and Reference Implementation, and the release of a new set of Interoperability Conformance Specifications  (ICS') based upon version 1.3 of the JDF specification and the new PrintTalk 1.3.

 PrintTalk is a specification for the exchange of print eCommerce information that is useful for the exchange of data between customer systems, web-to-print eCommerce systems, and print estimating, scheduling and MIS systems. The PrintTalk specification was developed in the 1990's and early 2000's by the PrintTalk organization, which was managed by NPES. It covers a myriad of print buying transactions such as requests for estimates, estimates, approvals and so forth. PrintTalk's early cooperation with CIP4 ensured that data gathered in the print buying process could be moved forward into production via JDF, thereby directly linking the print buyer's intent with production, and eliminating the need for re-keying of critical job parameters.

 In 2005 the PrintTalk organization decided that it had completed its mission of defining all the transactions that may be part of the print buying process, and that the most important objective thereafter was to ensure that PrintTalk was kept in sync with JDF. PrintTalk 1.3 is the first version of the PrintTalk Schema and Reference Implementation to be entirely developed under the auspices of CIP4. The versioning "1.3" indicates that this version of PrintTalk is tightly integrated to the 1.3 version of JDF.

 "Extending automation and the benefits of automation to the customer is a priority for many printers," said CIP4 Chair, Margaret Motamed. "One of the promises of automation is to eliminate redundant work, such as re-keying job specifications, and to make the entire process of designing, buying, producing and delivering print faster, more reliable, and more immediate to the ultimate consumer of the printed message. This version of PrintTalk, with its tight coordination with JDF, is an important integration milestone on the path to that objective."

 Concurrently, CIP4 released a new series of ICS documents based on version 1.3 of the JDF Specifications. JDF product certification testing, managed by PIA/GATF, is based on JDF ICS documents and these guidelines define subsets of the JDF specification that graphic arts systems and software must implement to establish a minimum level of JDF support. Each ICS guideline is specific to a production step or connectivity between a system that is managing the print job and a system that is executing that process step.

 The new batch of ICS documents include a Customer-to-MIS ICS (CusMIS) that is based on the new PrintTalk 1.3, and details the communication of data between front-end customer-facing systems and JDF-enabled print MIS systems that subsequently organize JDF-enabled production. Additional ICS documents released describe the integration of heavy iron with MIS or Prepress respectively and include:
* MISWeb:  Commercial Web: MIS to WebPress ICS.
* MISNews: Newspaper: MIS to WebPress ICS.
* MISCPS:  MIS to Conventional Printing - Sheet-Fed ICS.
* PreCP:   Prepress to Conventional Printing ICS.

The two Web Press ICS documents are first editions and have no corresponding JDF 1.2 ICS documents. The PreCP and MISCPS ICS documents are JDF 1.3 based updates of JDF 1.2 ICS documents. These updates provide:
* Support for late stage color selection. (e.g. the MIS system says "Spot1" and Prepress defines "Spot1" to be Pantone 4242.)
* Support for identical inks in different separations, such as where both black and text separations use black ink.
* Details of support for multiple runs of a job on a small press, such as printing front and back on a non-perfecting press or printing four-over-four (4/4) jobs on a two-color press.
* Alignment with the MIS to Prepress ICS to enable a complete workflow comprised of MIS, Prepress and Press systems.
* Support for versioning jobs in Level II of the ICS.

"Today's ICS releases significantly round out the library of ICS support documents," said CIP4 Technical Officer Dr. Rainer Prosi of Heidelberg. "For the first time developers can determine a consistent level of JDF implementation and JMF support from customer input through prepress, printing and finishing, and extract from the ICS the criteria their systems need to meet  product certification.  More importantly, the development of these ICS documents mean printers will have access to products that will interact smoothly throughout their operations."

 For more information about the ICS releases, visit http://www.cip4.org/certification/intro.php. Vendors of JDF products with questions regarding certification may also contact: Brandon Iskey, PIA/GATF Computational Research Scientist and JDF Product Certification Program Manager, at +1-412-259-1787 or via email at [email protected]