JDF 1.4 and Quark Job Jackets

As you may know, Quark Job Jackets for QuarkXPress 7 and above are based on the industry standard JDF, or Job Definition Format.

That standard is controlled by the multi-vendor CIP4 organization, which regularly updates the standard to include new areas of the printing and packaging workflow.

CIP4 has announced a new edition of JDF, due June 20th, that includes important processes such as varnishes and automated layout for variable digital printing. Their complete announcement is copied below. Any advancement in JDF is good news for QuarkXPress users, because new features in JDF equates to new features in Quark Job Jackets. For more information on how Job Jackets work, and how they can dramatically streamline your company’s workflow, see our previous story here, Three Experts Explain Quark Job Jackets.

CIP4 Announces Review of JDF 1.4

Düsseldorf, Germany (June 4, 2008) – The International Cooperation for the Integration of the Processes in Prepress, Press and Postpress (CIP4) Organization today announced that the 1.4 edition of the Job Definition Format (JDF) Specification will be released for review on June 20th. During the 120-day review period (commencing June 20), the specification will be closed to further technical additions or modifications, and will be accessible to all CIP4 members for a final intellectual property review to ensure that the specification remains open and unencumbered by legal issues.

Significant changes include:

  • The addition of automated layout and stripping, which is useful for variable digital printing where layout is determined during production, based upon content parameters.
  • New security and authentication features, which include the use of secure URLS and certificate passing, which allows JDF-automated production to be used securely on internet applications, not just intranet applications, as in previous editions of the specification.
  • Support for CAD input, Braille embossing and flexographic production to enable JDF users to broaden the number of types of packaging applications that can be automated.
  • Improvements to JMF, including a change that requires MIS and workflow systems to continue resending job instructions to devices until those devices actively acknowledge receipt of messages. This will ensure that, if there are network errors or disconnects, a JDF-enabled workflow does encounter missteps in the workflow.
  • The ability to model device modules, which allows the components of integrated digital printing devices to be individually addressed and controlled in JDF.
  • The addition of varnishing as a process, allowing for automation of off-line varnishing systems and control of multiple varnishing and coating units inline.
  • The addition of new content creation features, such as the ability to create elements of documents, generate PDF within constraints enforces by preflighting technology, and model the automation of iterative tasks.
  • The addition of absolute and relative anchor points on the sheet that can be used in various marking and layout operations, and the generation of automated marks.

“This version of JDF is not so much revolutionary as evolutionary,” said CIP4 Technical Officer Dr. Rainer Prosi of Heidelberg. “These changes are very important to users and vendors of JDF systems, and are incremental in reflecting practical experiences with implementations of JDF. What we’ve done is largely address what was working, but could be done better if the JDF Specification was enhanced to address specific needs of users and implementers.”

The final published version of JDF 1.4 will be made available to the general public on October 5th for free download as a PDF file. All versions of the JDF specification and schema published to the public can be downloaded from here.

About CIP4

CIP4 brings together vendors, consultants, and end-users in the print communications, graphic arts industry, and associated sectors, covering a variety of equipment, software, peripherals, and processes. Members participate in focused working groups to define the Job Definition Format (JDF), PrintTalk, and other standards relevant to process automation; to study user requirements; to test product interoperability; and to develop a range of JDF software development tools. Information on CIP4, including membership details, is available from the organization’s website: www.cip4.org. Or contact: Stefan Daun, Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics, +49 6151 155 575, secretariat@cip4.org. All content and ideas submitted to the CIP4 user groups and intellectual property rights subsisting therein shall become the exclusive property of CIP4.

About JDF

The Job Definition Format (JDF) is the industry specification designed to facilitate process automation and the integration of different applications and systems in and around the graphic arts industry. JDF also enables the integration of business management and job planning applications into the production workflow. JDF is based on the W3C’s Extensible Markup Language (XML), ensuring maximum interoperability between different platforms and ready interaction with Internet systems. More information is available at www.cip4.org.