Starting with IPEX 2002, this blog covers events relevant for UK print, including Seybold and DRUPA. See also website at www.atford.co.uk

Friday, December 24, 2004

Adobe have released Reader 7, just the other day. This appears to be the most amazing thing since around version 3, the one on CD. Commenting features do seem to work ok for the sample PDF on their site. However, this is not the best time to write it up. More will follow in the second week of Jan.

Meanwhile the other Acrobat sites need an update as well. Future corrective action required to encourage people to check the blog if they think some news is missing.

Meanwhile, whenever you have the time, download Reader 7. Seems to load quirte quickly for one thing.Yahoo local search on PDF. Suggest you give this a try. Quite slow but may be quicker on later searches. No time to check this now as I need to buy some wrapping paper.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Found a link to a story on digital downloads

http://www.mediapost.com/dtls_dsp_news.cfm?newsID=281153

ABC and BPA Worldwide are talking to each other about how to define a download. I think the SVG option that the Independent is looking at could change things. The issue seems to have started around a PDF option for the Guardian showing the complete photo and illustration content. This is different to the text content freely available on the website. But the web through SVG could offer a completely new graphic experience, different not worse to what is on the printed page.

The advertisers can probably influence this when they work out how the advertising should be designed. The figures in the mediapost article show they are now increasing the spend through websites, back on growth and almost twice the level of 2000.

Monday, December 06, 2004

http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?article_class=4&no=199907&rel_no=1

Links to OhmyNews Technology page with my recent post on Google and the Online Information show. The introduction has been rewritten to be easier to follow.

The story still includes the information about the Independent and SVG. So Inow havesent in four stories to the talkboard, three of which have made it to the Technology page. Each one is about the effect of the web on print publishing. As news, the first one is about the ABC UK decision to include 'digital editions' in print certificates. The second one is the news that actually nothing has happened as not one newspaper 'opted in'. The third is about the BPA Worldwide publication of actual figures for VNU publications IT Week and Computing. This did not make it to the Technology page. Maybe it is a bit detailed. There may not be a lot of people in Korea who follow what ABC and BPA Worldwide are up to. I'm not sure who reads the English version of OhMynews. There is a lot of interesting stuff on the technology pages. Much of it is about the effect of technology, especially the web. OhmyNews assume that the web exists so they are able to report it.
Meanwhile in today's Guardian I think Roy Greenslade may be missing some aspects of the situation around the Financial Times. The FT may have lost over 50,000 print copies intheUK but gained 75,000 subscribers on the web. So surely something fundamental is happening. News is viable online. Over time for the FT and later other broadsheet papers, the web will be at least as significant as print for subscription and advertising income. I am repeating earluier posts but I think the point needs to be made as Roy Greenslade's article is typical ofa lot of coverage by print journalists.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

It seems that Jakob Nielsen did not mention PDF in particular as part of his keynote. I spoke to someone who was there and nothing striking is remembered about PDF. There is a lot of PDF evident in the exhibition. The British Library are still offering to email a PDF of any document within two hours to anywhere. They have to scan it each time. The publishers apparently would not like the idea of a store of scans. There is an additional charge of a copyright fee so the publishers are benefiting from the service. The PDF is tied to a particular computer so cannot be copied to another screen. Only two printout copies can be made. There is a problem for people who do not realise that they need the latest version of the Reader for the Digital Rights Management aspect to work. Sometimes people with earlier versions complain that something has gone wrong. I guess Jakob Nielsen would call this a 'usability' issue. Somehow people get used to it however.

No sign of Adobe or the 'intelligent document platform'. Documentum are sposoring some of the talks on content management but have no information on the PDF server software except that if pressed they state that it does work. This is arguably the most relevant UK show for intelligent documents. M aybe Adobe believe their message will get across online anyway. What appears from the show so far is that XML is the main format people wanr to work with. PDF is attractive for publishing when the design is fixed and security is required.

More on 'e-publishing' tomorrow. Theatre B, starts around 10.30

Monday, November 29, 2004

On Wednesday there will be a question time at the House of Commons organised by IP3, the new institute formed by merging Paper, Publishing and Printing. One consequence of the merger is that web publishing is now part of the debate. One question is expected to be 'is the printed book dead?' The answer will be no, probably, but it is interesting that the question is being asked.

http://www.ip3.org.uk/commonsdebate.htm

More on this later in the week.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

I have sent a new post for OhmyNews based on the circulation figures for Computing and IT Week.

http://english.ohmynews.com

"BPA Worldwide releases certificates for VNU digita" on the Talkback board.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Jakob Nielsen is wrong and dangerous

Next week in London Jakob Nielsen will be a keynote speaker at the main conference for Online Information. His idea of usability seems to be to limit technology to what people already know about. He has often suggested that PDF should only be used for documents intended to be printed. This opinion has not changed over the years when the growth of PDF on the web would seem to suggest that many people are now familar with the Reader.

The Online Information event is attended by broadly two groups of people. Information professionals and librarians are often interested in the actual content. Gradually there has been a larger audience of people concerned with technology as such. There is now a part of the exhibition described as 'Content Management Europe' with specialised sections on Documents and Records and also e-Publishing.

The Content Management area is broadly the range of functions targeted by Adobe and the new server software promoted as the 'Intelligent Document Platform'. It appears that Adobe have not taken a stand but they work with EMC Documentum who will be represented. In the technology area, PDF is almost certain to be seen as one of the options, alongside XML with claims that the two are compatible.

At least Jakob Nielsen is prepared to engage in dialogue. On a previous visit to London he took part in extensive discussion as part of a Guardian Talk special. There was not much change in his opinion however. At Planet PDF they have despaired of convincing him and their rejection of his views is closely argued and totally convincing as far as I can tell. See 'Jakob Nielsen's PDF Phobia is seemingly incurable by Kurt Foss , Planet PDF Editor, in July 28, 2003. The only constructive attempt to relate to Jakob Nielsen is to show how Google can be set up to avoid PDF altogether.

There has been some comment on Forms, the leading aspect of the new phase of Adobe software. "Forms are the wrong metaphor for workflow support. It's much better to view data entry as an Internet-based application (or intranet-based application, as the case may be) and design a true user interface -- one that takes advantage of all of the GUI elements, conditional workflow structures, and user assistance techniques that have evolved through decades of interaction design for applications." This from an Alertbox in July last year. PDF forms can have most design features of any web page. Maybe Flex and Flash appeal to a certain aesthetic uniquely but there is not much in current web pages that cannot be done in PDF. There may be design and training issues that need discussing. If there is mention of PDF, maybe some detail on forms would be useful.

I think it unfortunate that Jakob Nielsen is influential. His ideas on Flash is not much more helpful than on PDF. Maybe the explanation of his position is that the result is very conservative. Any new technology can be sesisted on the grounds that users need to get some new understanding. One result in the UK is that the New Opportunities Fund paid for a lot of scanning of archive material, very little of which is available as PDF for public download. This is one of the few functions for which Jakob Nielsen would suggest PDF as being suitable.

At a recent Adobe webcast Ivan Koon stated that there will probably be an ISO standard for PDF archiving sometime next year. This will be similar to the PDF-X series for pre-press. There is interest in this, so it may come as a shock to people who rely on Jakob Nielsen as a source on how much time to spend looking at PDF.

I may be quite wrong to go on so long about this. There may be nothing said at Online Information about PDF, or Jakob Nielsen may have eventually found something positive to say. (There are reports for sale in PDF format from the Nielsen Norman website. Unusually the PDF icon leads to an ordering page, not a PDF file, quite a surprise for people raised on web conventions) I think whatever he has to say by the end of the show PDF will be reasonably established. Last year the British Library launched a document service based on PDF. So far as I know this is still on offer. On Thursday there will be some free talks on e-publishing. There appears to be interest in XML but PDF will probably be in there somewhere.


Saturday, November 20, 2004

Net browsing beats going out in the cold
Established retailers, big or small, have to adapt quickly to replace in-store customers
Edmond Warner
Saturday November 20, 2004

Can't quote anymore for copyright reasons. You can follow this link though.

'Denial' ( as described by Emily Bell ) works in strange ways. the Guardian is quite capable of publishing an article about bookshops in which the reality of Amazon and the web is made clear. They still have a problem writing about newspapers or news organisations however, in my perception.

Blackwell's has been a major resource for academic sites throughout the UK. If the web takes over then a) academic books are just part of the CDs etc. b) not sure why the academic sites are worth a visit

Going off topic a bit. My main point is that things are changing faster than appears for newspapers. This will get some attention sometime soon. 'News' is part of the web, just as much as bookselling.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Roy Greenslade at least is considering the web as well as decline for newspaper circulation

http://media.guardian.co.uk/mediaguardian/story/0,7558,1351135,00.html

However, he writes about newspaper web sites as if they have no income such as advertising or the digital editions as in the Guardian. It really is a bit silly to have such reporting. The Guardian seems to have a policy not to mention the digital editions in the UK print version. Apparently they do promote them in the print versions outside the UK. It is up to the guardian if they want to keep the PDF option a secret. But it makes the journalism less than it might be if Roy Greenslade ignores them in an article like this.

News organisations will eventually regard the web as part of mainstream income flows so why not start looking at this soon?
Adobe announced Acrobat 7 today. It seems to be mostly improved presentation and value. Apparently people with the Professional version will be able to create a PDF with commenting functions enabled for people who have the latest version of the Reader. And Elements might be available in quantities lower than 1000. The forms design kit will be included so more people will begin to think about the server software.

Already some people think it could still be cheaper.
http://www.pdfzone.com/news/1903-PDFzone_news.html

Macromedia have something to offer with Contribute. This is priced for volume in a way that education can afford. Contribute allows commenting and also creation of PDF or Flash Paper. Flash Paper loads very fast assuming you already have Flash working. The claim is that Adobe Reader 7 will load quickly anyway. Something to come back to.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Andrew Tribute has now posted PDF versions of his presentations from New Zealand.

http://www.attributes.co.uk/AttributesFrame.html

JDF now official.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Another Guardian article today, this time about the Independent. Again, no mention at all of the website, so the article makes little sense.

Can't find anything on the media site about the BBC or their relation with commercial sites. The print version puts little teasers in without a proper link. The Guardian often has editorial written by or quotes from people who think their web project would benefit from the BBC not doing something. Actually the BBC remains one of the few UK brands that are visible on the web. Also they are clear in that they have a policy to change their means of communication to include the web. Newspapers such as the Guardian may actually have a web policy but they seem to choose not to reflect this in their print copy.

Meanwhile on the webpage is an interesting stat on how in broadband Europe many people spend more time online than reading newspapers

http://media.guardian.co.uk/newmedia/story/0,7496,1347160,00.html

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

There is an article in th Guardian today about possible issues at the FT.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,3604,1346602,00.html

Apparently the media coverage could be cut back because of a lack of advertising.

What is really strange about this article is the complete lack of any reference to the internet, the FT subscription or advertising income from the internet, or the scale of investment in the future FT website. My guess is that future advertising will use a blend of media. News organisations that have relied on print will change. ABC did announce that there will be circulation certificates showing figures for 'digital editions'. The 75,000 subs to the FT website are possibly not counted as 'digital editions'. So it is not obvious from ABC sources how to form a picture of what is happening for particular titles. Do print journalists imagine that these issues will go away if there is no reporting?

Thursday, November 04, 2004

OhmyNews has accepted a second story on print and the web. This is headed 'Publishers Awaken to an 'E-Book Society' 2004-11-04 . The news angle of this is a report from AFAICS on e-books. They think the price for e-book hardware will drop to $35 over four years. Guy Kewney believes this will have an effect on paper publishing. 'Things change'.

The first story was based on the ABC decision to publish numbers for 'digital editions' along with print circulations for UK newspapers. This was headed Web Influence on Print Media Growing and was posted 2004-07-28. However since then I think no newspaper has 'opted in' so there are no actual figures.

I think it is obvious that part of the explanation of the decline of newspaper circulation is that more people use the web. Newspapers are now news organisations with a mix of income and cost over print and web. It is about time some accurate numbers were available. As Guy Kewney and others are reporting, publishing through mobile devices is beginning to happen. Newspaper articles on circulation that make no mention of the web will not be credible for much longer.

There will be some more on this in this blog and longer pieces for OhmyNews when more definite information is available.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Reading a couple of magazines picked up as samples from Digital Print World. Usually I rely on the dotprint website to keep up with Printing World. PIRA publications are fairly expensive but digital demand is interesting. The September/October issue includes an article on 'the future of print' that is fairly reassuring. 'The gentle downward drift of newspaper circulation is forecast to slow slightly over the next few years'. I don't find this convincing however. The web has still got a long way to go. And whether or not e-books take off within four years ( see previous post) to say that books will grow by 1.2% over the next decade is potentially inappropriate if technology is disruptive.

In Printing World Rod Hayes reports from Graph Expo and a presentation from William Smythe, vice president of NPES. "The print portion of a printer's revenue has actually been declining for several years now and this trend is set to continue. Unless a printer has been implementing diversification plans, the future is very grim." The decline can be traced back to 1992. The new ancillary services include mailing, fulfillment management, warehousing, DTP consulting, CD-Rom services and forms of database management. The article is titled 'The storm gathers' and fits well with an editorial from Gareth Ward-

"Many have battered down the hatches and have so far survived, but we need to understand that there is a changed landscape out there and that proceeding as we have over the last few years will not be enough to prevent companies being swept away with the next spell of bad weather."

Digital Print World is now an established event. It will influence opinion not just because digital print will grow in proportion to litho. JDF workflows will be standard for all forms of print. Print is part of communications based on the web.

Monday, November 01, 2004

There is almost nothing in Guardian media today about the web.

Since they dropped the bit at the back on 'new media' there has been less and less. But buried away in an interview with Martin Sorrell in a section on 'my media' is the information that 'I find I am reading periodicals less' and 'I consume more online'.

There is a letter from Greg Paine of AOL claiming that in broadband homes people are online 13 hours a week, roughly 12% of media consumption. "It's finally time to realise that broadband internet is both mass market and mass media"

This may be reflected in Guardian media reporting eventually. Still nothing in print about 'digital editions'.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

No sign of Adobe. I'm not sure that InDesign is doing so well that the general print market can be expected to pick up on it by default. Quark have sponsored the Workflow presentations and are answering questions with plenty of people on their stand.

Xerox still expect Adobe to ship a plug-in for InDesign and Acrobat that creates a JDF file for each job. At drupa I thought Adobe were a bit vague about this idea but Xerox have a definite interest in hard copy. Maybe when this might be available it will be Xerox where information can be found.

Back in the days of a floppy disc it was thought a bit of a security risk to move files on disc between pcs. Tharsten and Positive Focus however have now started to use a USB keyring to show off JDF. It works fine with a web-based MIS linking in to Creo Upfront. Maybe by IPEX wi-fi will be free everywhere.

According to Alan Dixon from Positive Focus, JDF stands for "Job Done Faster".
The actual title of Gee's talk is


JDF for Dummies

It is remarkably clear as an introduction but also as a statement that JDF is not science fiction, something to think about after the next IPEX, something that might work one day.

DALIM support about 350 sites worldwide where JDF is part of the current workflow.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Links to Guardian talk. Please add something, there could be some explanation needed.

PDF Guardian

What is going on with the 'digital edition'?

http://mediatalk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?50@pdfguardian@.597aa1a3

Oi Printweek Face the Facts

follows Printweek article on Guardian coverage of alleged print decline in London

http://mediatalk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?50@oiprintweek@.77476434
Since some time last year I have been contributing to the Guardian talk board on Press and Publishing as part of Media. During this time the 'digital edition' appears to be live though there is nothing ever about it in the Guardian print version. Just possibly there is a policy about this or else Roy Greenslade is not very interested in the web anyway.

Today Emily Bell writes about 'denial' - her word- as some media folk think about the internet and 'mainstream' media. So far, so welcome.

http://media.guardian.co.uk/mediaguardian/story/0,7558,1335024,00.html

However there is still nothing about the Guardian itself as an example. Like Roy Greenslade she refers to the 'redtop' circulation decline. From the last set of figures the decline for the Guardian seemed to be in the same range as for the Daily Mirror. Anything over 5% a year is interesting.

There was an ABC press release on a decision to publish figures on paid circulation as 'digital editions'. Since then nobody has 'opted in' as far as I can tell. This is only a blog. Obviously Roy Greenslade could find out more if he wanted to.

There is not much point in repeating myself on the Guardian talk board so I will put some content there about XML and publishing. I recently got some feedback from text that was about a year old so the web is not always as immediate a medium as is sometimes supposed.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

There is a new phase for this blog, a quote from Gee Ranasinha who I emailed with a quote from Andy Tribute's blog. Next week there will be an update of the http://www.atford.co.uk site. Meanwhile the text of Gee's message is below.

-------------------------------------------
From Gee Ranasinha,
Director of Marketing
Dalim Software GmbH

Regarding Andy T's quote - I've been describing printers as being "media distributors". I think that this better describes their new role in things.

If you're looking for a JDF-based quote. how about the following:

Make no mistake: not only WILL JDF-driven systems be the industry’s future, JDF–based systems ARE ALREADY becoming the industry’s “present”. There are printers today using JDF as a cornerstone to their production processes, and more companies are moving to JDF-based systems every day.

But put JDF into perspective. JDF is a set of rules for vendors such as us to follow when we design new products. It’s also the way that vendors have agreed upon to allow their products to communicate. Our job, as a equipment vendor, is to build systems that offer feature benefits to you, our customers. How JDF is deployed within that system is, to a large extent, irrelevant to the user.

Finally, a word of advice. Many vendors are talking the JDF talk, but there are only a handful of vendors today that can really boast true JDF systems interconnectivity. Vendors such as Dalim Software invest thousands in ensuring cross vendor connectivity by actively participating in all areas of the CIP4 organisation. So take the time to separate the companies who say “JDF Will be” from the companies who say “JDF is”.

----------------------------------

Comment from Will
This is obviously from a vendor point of view but the general interest is in the clear statement that JDF has happened.

Gee will be speaking in the Quark Workflow Theatre on Tuesday and Wednesday (15.20) next week at Olympia. the show is called Digital Printing World but some of the issues relate to printing in general.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Defining Moment in New Zealand

I have added a comment to Andrew Tribute's blog so repeat it here. ( I think the yacht is out of the water now, there was a long pause in this blog but it seems to back on track now)

-------------------------

I am going to take this as a defining moment. There have been many suggestions of a digital print future but this states that the change has happened.

“In my keynote address at the conference I stated that value added services are the key for printers. In this I stated that printer’s business cards should no longer call themselves printers, but instead digital services companies.“

Next week there is a show at Olympia on digital print. Gee Ranasinha will talk about JDF. I had thought that would be a defining moment but now I think this blog entry is a better source, especially as it already exists on the web.

I am taking this a bit seriously as I have been sent a press pass on the basis of my blog at //ipex2002.blogspot.com

It started in 2002 so it’s too late to change the name.

By the way, i think there may be a typo. Do you mean ‘beer’ not ‘bear’? Maybe you went bear hunting as well as fishing for trout…

Posted by Will Pollard on Saturday, 23 October 2004 at 4:04 PM

Monday, October 18, 2004

"You can only hide under the bedsheets for so long. JDF is here and it's real"
Gee Ranisinha is very definite in the current Image Reports.

He will also be speaking at Digital Print World at Olympia tomorrow and Wednesday. One of the benefits of a show that concentrates on digital is that ideas such as JDF are easier to spread. Maybe it will take longer with litho. Frank Romano wrote in Printweek not long ago that there was no obvious return on investment and that it will take a long time for old equipment to be replaced. Unfortunately I can't find the article at the moment but I think one of the points was that print customers can't produce reliable PDF files so probably can't create an accurate JDF. Maybe this is where print management companies offer something, sorting out the technology where print companies don't.
'How to spice up e-brochures' by Ken Young in today's IT Week assumes that print is more or less disappearing. He states that about a quarter of print jobs were lost in the area around the City in Lodon over five years to 2002. This is probably based on a recent report - Understanding the Print and Publishing Sectors in the City Fringe. The Guardian article on this drew a fierce response from Printweek where the BPIF was described as 'angry' and the Guardian take as 'nonsense'.

The report itself has many facts that have to be considered by people concerned with UK print. Clearly something is happening and the web has something to do with it. The original report comments on the state of IT skills in print and management attitudes to training.

Meanwhile the Guardian somehow fails to report the web as a context for print circulation decline. Roy Greenslade today looks at the recent figures without any mention of how websites effect circulation or contribute to income. So far the 'digital edition' remains a secret so far as the hard copy Guardian is concerned.

http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/media_centre/files/140_04.htm

Back to Ken Young. He claims that 'people can't be bothered to wait for a brochure to land on their desk' so the web must be a priority. New design resources are essential. 'Sites need to come alive...and not look like electronic versions of dead trees.' Maybe he is being alarmist. Print will continue for some time as evidenced by News International investment outside London. However the reference to Kodak and the speed with which film was replace by digital cameras could be convincing that change can happen.

One suggestion is that managers use the web to make direct contact with customers through weblogs. Next week there is an Adobe webcast intended for financial analysts. This may not be intended for a wider audience but it might be interesting as an example of what is possible. The analysts make a better guess than most of what new products might arrive. There will probaly be more interest in video than in OEM Postscript.

http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/invrelations/conferences.html

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Print Now ( issue 4 2004) includes a quote from Lance O'Connell, Heidelberg's UK Manager for Prinect and pre-press products.

"JDF was a hot topic at drupa. it is now becoming a commercial reality and by 2006 automated workflows will have become an industry standard."

This is one of the first signs that JDF is actually happening. It is tempting to believe this is a reasonable assumption about 2006. Once the software is part of an internet speed then this makes a lot of sense.

It will be interesting to see how much communication happens online between print shows. For JDF to become an industry standard before 2006 there will have to be a lot of web browsing for some print companies to catch up woth the "early adopters". In the UK there will probably be two shows as Digital Print World before IPEX. Apparently these will not include litho workflows but actually a digital workflow could be much the same. this blog and the site at www.atford.co.uk will concentrate on the implications on JDF for litho, still the largest part of UK print on current information.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

I have updated the www.atford site with a simplified map of IPEX 2006. This shows the piazza as the centre of a loop round the 'heavy metal' part. I think the software part will develop through the web anyway. Such an event is about how JDF works with litho and finishing.

There is a slideshow at Acrobat services dotcom. Adobe Album comes with some suitable lounge music. Closed Loop - Open Piazza.

I am continuing a campaign to persuade Printweek to conside John Cunningham for their 100 list of influential people in UK print. Somehow Adobe and UK print do not overlap that much.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Adobe have announced the release of Designer for forms and other server products.

The report at PDFzone includes a statement from Sydney Sloan, product marketing group manager for server products. The guidance is that these products are intended for organisations with above 500 users. "We're targetting Fortune 500 type companies."

It seems to me that JDF and the print industry do not really fit in with this picture. At drupa there was almost no promotion for PDF Jobready. There have been some reports of a concept around JDF tickets in InDesign and Acrobat. But there is almost no information about how this might work with server software.

The PDFzone article mentions a possible "$100,000 price tag ($200,000 for the Cadillac bundle)" for the "Intelligent Document Platform’s process-management components". Most print companies employ less than twenty people and have no IT department.

So the original idea of the portable job ticket is not going to work out as first imagined. There will be JDF data as well as PDF for copy. But there are many other ways of sending XML data.

Possibly over time there will be a different price level for PDF server software. There may be more information about implementations of PDF Jobready and JDF in InDesign / Acrobat. But other approaches seem more likely in the near future.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

drupa 2004 is more or less over

only now do I find out that Andy Tribute has been doing a special blog at

http://www.attributes.co.uk/drupa

Forget this blog. Andy Tribute has been there the whole fortnight.

He seems to have liked Print City more over time.

I have put some photos in a PDF (2 meg) from official sources so the quality is ok

Monday, May 17, 2004

Freehand is still the illustration choice for PC Pro. I have caught up on most hard copy reading. I'm still aware of the web in the background. Macromedia appear not to spend too much energy on exhibitions in real space. Maybe adobe are uncertain whether they should beat an vent such as drupa or not. I still thjink it strange that PDF Jobready was not promoted as far as I could tell.
News in Printweek shows that JDF is having a real effect quite soon.

Taylor Bloxham in Leicester are integrating Creo and Tharsten, as shown at the JDF Parc.

Barney Cox has an extended article on JDF in pre-press and production. He repeats the view from Tim Williams in a previous article - the early implementations will come from magazine printers working with publishers. The article reports on Wyndham Heron and Stephens & George.

The Digital Ad Lab started to look at JDF during Digital Solutions 2002. Once there are a few examples of how things work, the pressure for this to be an option could grow quite fast. There is a benefit for print buyers so they will find some sites where JDF is working, even if there is a long delay before JDF is everywhere.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Back in Exeter. Yesterday catching up with things. Two main impressions now that drupa is a bit distant.

One. The web is till there, even at a tradeshow. Some companies now rely on the web and put less energy into exhibitions. I am still not sure what Adobe was doing there. They were very vague about the JDF input. Maybe they just wanted a chance to talk to different people about a possibility in the future. There was almost no information about PDF Jobready. I am pretty sure Datalogics was not on the HP stand. Maybe the web demo is enough. Microsoft and Macromedia had no stand at all. However, dotnet is in the background at the JDF Parc and Dreamweaver is assumed for the XMPie web option demonstrated on the Xerox stand.

Two. Some things have not advanced since IPEX 2002. At that time Pelagon showed how collaboration aspects of Acrobat could be used for mark-up and comment on proofs and designs. Maybe the costs of Acrobat are too high for enough people to have access to this. I did not see any signs of anyone using this at drupa. Drugs development and architecture are areas where it could be afforded maybe.

Also no sign of Printme. At IPEX there were several chances to try it out, spread around most of the halls. Maybe broadband has not arrived as expected. Checking the site it appears that most of the Printme sites are in the USA.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Now in Koln for the day. There will be more of a report around Sunday when I'm back in Exeter.

I spent most of the time in the CIP4 JDF Parc, Hall 4. It connects to most of what is happening in other halls so you tend to go back there. Optimus and Agfa are there from Print City. Xerox has no stand as shown in the printed guide but they do several presentations. Xerox FreeFlow turns out to be largely JDF, working closely with Creo and Adobe. Whatever the plugin for creating JDF data from InDesign and7or Acrobat is called, the Xerox expectation seems to be that it will be available fairly soon. It is presented as a part of FreeFlow as if FreeFlow is current. This would suggest the plug-in could be released as such, without waiting for a new release of Creative Suite. That might be eighteen months away. Maybe the timescale depends on feedback.

Several stands within the JDF Parc show the logo for Objective Advantage. CIP4 seems to be sharing specification updates and Objective Advantage continues to support JDF. See link for Seybold Hot Pick from 2002. http://www.oai.cc/default.asp?FeatureID=4&SectionID=12&RedBoxID=48 Sorry you will have to copy this in. There is √°dwatch´software on this machine that blocks pop-ups of any kind, even the Blogger helper. Can't remember html any more either. This may be edited next week.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

It turns out to be quite hard to find Adobe in the Heidelberg space. Even Kodak is not clearly identified as such. As yesterday, my impression is that Heidelberg are not communicating their contribution to JDF. They are working with Adobe and in future JDF from InDesign or Acrobat will work with Prinect but this is not at all obvious from their current display.

The best place to find Adobe is the JDF Parc in Hall 4 (with an excellent poster courtesy of Heidelberg). There is a chart showing other locations where Adobe crops up. I keep going on about Adobe as they seem to be the central company for digital connections with print. InDesign is now well accepted. XMPie have chosen it as their core page output software and apparently they find there is at least one copy on most sites. If the JDF Parc is too full to navigate ( Adobe is right at the back) then Print City also has a space explaining how JDF could work with InDesign and Acrobat.

Still no sign of JobReady or Datalogics. I had thought that Datalogics would be on the HP stand. ( see the website (http://www.datalogics.com/news-events.asp) as a source for this) Can´t find them so far.

However Triplearc have a small space showing software for variable data. At IPEX 2002 they had a much larger stand showing software for JDF input online. Discussion on why print management works in the UK and how long it will take print customers to understand JDF is a bit off topic for them at drupa but they might find time for a discussion. (HP Hall 4 C23)

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Have arrived in Cologne and found the way to Dusseldorf. This is the closest I could find a hotel. Much going on here so I hope to take Saturday off.

The wonderful press office have accepted my hard copy versions of this blog and the WWW.atford site as evidence of my credentials as a journalist. So I have access to the full press release list and can join the queue for web access. This is written from a small internet cafe in Cologne. I feel less worried once I have completed the journey back. this could change over the week.

So far there has been a major presentation by Heidelberg. They fill Halls 1 and 2 and have always been a major part of drupa. The demonstration were mostly about new versions of their Speedmaster but the press releases included one on working with Adobe on PDF. Somewhere in the Heidelberg stand, probably as part of Prinect, there will be a demonstration of how to create JDF data from InDesign and Acrobat. Previously i had only heard about this as part of Print City.

Heidelberg are committed to JDF and talked about it a lot. One problem seems to be that they only show it working with their own products. In answer to questions they offered to take anyone to actual sites where other suppliers were part of the workflow, for example Agfa. But there won't be much except Heidelberg in Halls 1 and 2. So the JDF story may be more convincing in Print City and elsewhere.

Monday, May 03, 2004

I have updated the Acrobat Services websites as relevant for drupa, where I am headed next week.

The dotcom site has a photo from Seybold Amsterdam. I think it is ok to concentrate on drupa and hard copy for the next fortnight. In theory the dotcom site is supposed to move on to PDF on the web, forms etc. This will come back as an emphasis once there is more agreement on JDF. This could be during the first week of drupa.

The www.atford site has a map of drupa concentrating on the bits that relate to PDF.

This blog may not get updated for a week or so depending on whether I find some access and / or can work out what to concentrate on. But there will be an update soon.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

I don't think PDF Jobready will be a major priority for Adobe at drupa. Their emphasis was on ways to input and display JDF from InDesign and Acrobat. Information about Jobready was through the stand (booth) for Datalogics. At drupa they will be part of the HP space. Hall 4 , stands C23 and D47.
One really good development was that that contacts were made to expand the support for the Acrobat User Forum. The AUF has announced a meeting on June 2nd to look at issues arising from Seybold. There will now also be involvement from the BCS Electronic Publishing Specialist Group and from XML UK.

The meeting will include an update on the defra case study on reader extensions, and a look at how Enfocus and Global Graphics have approached the issues of how to connect JDF with PDF. I will be speaking about how quality links in with this. As the meeting is at the IQA in London there could be others with a view on quality as well. My view is that the discussion on 'intelligent documents' could start by including some established ideas from quality theory.


The day will start with David Brailsford and a revised version of his keynote at Seybold. This overview of content and structure includes more reference to SVG over time. Acrobat users probably won't mind being SVG users as well. There is a guess that some SVG is already included in the Adobe Reader, as it now is.
The idea of co-locacating Seybold and XML Europe has worked out really well. It would be very positive if this happened again. The Job Definition Format discussion is based on XML support. It is not essential to understand this, but most of those closely involved seem to.

Medialive International have been criticised for some of the changes around Seybold, but this XML link is creative. Maybe the discussion needs to expand to maintain some momentum.

There are some details to work through however. It was possible to switch to the XML conference for a session but the timings did not overlap well. It would have been good to hear the session from HP and Reportlab on how the schedule was printed but there were several other Seybold sessions at this time.
SVG has turned up a few times during the conference. It may be the XML alongside ( see next post ) At first it was suggested that SVG is ok on screen but has no idea of what a page is like. However it turned out that the speaker from Apache Software Foundation was very intrerested in hard copy. Jeremias Maerki ( jeremias@maerki.org ) showed several cases of output to PDF and Postscript. See the website at http://xml.apache.org/fop/

The main project is for an XSL-FO. Sorry, I don't really understand what this is. It takes data in XML format and describes how to display it. Something like that. There were some robust comments in the conference about whether the Apache version works very well. The version number is FOP (0.20.5) so clearly there will be a better version. As far as I could tell the process that went into PDF was working ok. Suited for black on white text, data output sort of thing. High end CMYK colour maybe a long wait. But maybe some print company will be able to cope with RGB one day.

SVG seems to get support partly because it is an open standard and written in XML so linking to data is possible. Chuck Myers from Adobe pointed out that PDF is an open standard in that several other companies offer software that creates PDF. He made the fair point that PDFlib for example offer software to create PDF from data 'on the fly'. However the mood seemed to be that if SVG became well supported it would be easier to make a suggestion through committees rather than waiting for Adobe to release a new description of PDF.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Link for ReportLab

http://server.reportlab.com/cgi-bin/xmleu2004.cgi

If you're not at Seybold or XML Europe you can't actually visit any of this but you would see how XML works with a publication. XML will be part of Seybold in San Francisco and it seems likely there will be something in Amsterdam in 2005.
The Seybold Amsterdam event is benefiting from being co-located with XML Europe. Much of the discussion overlaps. Reportlab are offering a personalised schedule for XML Europe and later they will have some presentation with HP Indigo. As part of the XML apparently. More on this later.

'Later' could be Thursday.
http://www.jdf.info

The word is that this site will be updated. As of two clicks ago it was all about a Seybold in 2003.

But check back later. It will be updated in the near future.

Just one of the promises during the CIP4 day on JDF. My impression is that there is genuine wide support for JDF to work.

Some jargon, new to me. Interoperability Conformance Specifications. (ICS) . These are a way to check whether 'pairings' actually work. GATF has agreed to do tests once the specifications are agreed. It seems that ones for MIS and digital print are the furthest advanced. The Networked Graphic Production approach seems to have been to move on without waiting for the spec. But their experience has been fed back.

During the day it was suggested that the ideal recruit for pre-press would have some knowledge of web design, including PHP and MySQL. Quite a change from the attitudes in pre-press some time ago when the question was whether PDF could ever be made to work. There is support for JDF in the print industry. My guess is that the doubts will disappear quite quickly.

Apparently there will be a JDF roadmap for distribution at drupa. This document is so massive that it is impossible to fit on a slide and there was no announcement of a version for download. Maybe it involves some complex folding.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Just to say I have found Easy cafe so there will be a report from Seybold Amsterdam maybe tomorrow.

The printed description promises a 7 minute version of what will be on show at drupa from a PDF point of view.

7 minutes each speaker that is, hour and a quarter in all. There may be other things going on tomorrow but there will be a report later this week.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Still thinking about whether JDF is ready for print to take it up. This blogging approach seems to work as a way to think. I may change my mind later but here's a link

http://www.triplearc.com/

At IPEX 2002 they were one of the most definite in presenting JDF. Maybe the response from print companies has been slower than they hope for in buying the software, but the print management aspect seems to be going ok.

Things move a lot faster than would be convenient for a print investment schedule spread over time.
Reading more from Andrew Tribute's blog I find some reservations about JDF

http://www.attributes.co.uk/blog/archives/000021.html

Also there is a surprising comment from Frank Romano in this week's Printweek
I have risked a short quote on the WWWatford site.

There is a lot to do to persuade the print industry to support JDF. Whatever Frank Romano thinks about the customers and their ignorance, these are the people who place the orders. In the UK I think it was when the Digital Ad Lab understood how a PDF workflow could help them that the print companies actually invested. They are studying JDF. Maybe all the software companies trying things out should consider print management. They can offer a front end that customers expect, then sort things out for however print companies want to work.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

It turns out that Andrew Tribute is now a blogger. Actually the archive shows he started in Feb.

The blog form allows some frankness of a kind that might not get published in print.

He has some comments on Seybold relocation, for example.

http://www.attributes.co.uk/blog/archives/000019.html

This blog will now probably become a whole series of links to the Andrew Tribute blog. I never did understand the colour of laser beams anyway. Go directly to the Attributes site for an exemplary use of Flash at a minimum and now a blog update on drupa day by day. Or whenever there is something to write about.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

another test
There should be a new comment feature, courtesy of BlogBack.

More follows on this week's Printweek. Simon Eccles reports on what to look for at drupa by way of MIS and workflow. Also digital cameras are on a level with scanners in a purchasing survey.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

It turns out that Macromedia have plans for server software and that forms are part of a 'rich media experience'.

The name is Flex, as announced at the Flashforward animation event, but aimed at the enterprise.

There is no announcement of a Macromedia presence at Seybold Amsterdam. Maybe they are not yet ready. There might be more information at Seybold San Francisco. So meanwhile we need the web as well. Macromedia may have given up on real time events.

There is an archived conference call from Adobe, available for another couple of weeks.

Bruce Chizen is asked to comment on the discussion at AIIM on linking digital print and 'intelligent documents'. He mentions the history of Postscript and the links Adobe has, but he seems to concentrate on office production rather than pre-press for litho. He mentions HP and Xerox. They will both be at drupa but there is something different here to how drupa used to be.

Figures show some growth now for the server products aimed at 'enterprises'. OEM Postscript sales are not really growing. Because Adobe has been central for the printing industry since Postscript came out it is sometimes forgotten that Adobe's main interest is software.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

I still think it is ok to leave this blog as IPEX2002 even though it is about drupa.

At IPEX the CIP4 day on JDF did not include much from Adobe. There could be more in 2004.

An update on Transit was recently announced. PDF Jobready could be widely used but this will depend on pricing. However, print has not been forgotten in the rush to sell server software for entrerprises.
There is an MIS show coming up in Birmingham.

PDF Brochure

The way computing and the web is impacting on print has changed the role of MIS. The computer system covers every part of print production so the MIS is just one part of this. The main issue is how the MIS system can cope with this when it needs to fit with something else.
There is a very interesting release from Enfocus about JDF and PDF.

http://www.enfocus.com/news/shownews.php?id=135

The details will not be clear till drupa though there may be some clues at Seybold.

The intention is that job ticket details ( the JDF bit ) will be included as part of the PDF. I think that is right, this blog will change if facts are wrong. Now this going back to the original idea of a PDF with a portable job ticket format included. Just one file with everything required.

At Seybold Amsterdam 2003 there was a lot of discussion on how the JDF part and the PDF could be linked. There was a lot of support for keeping XML distinct. I think the Global Graphics approach with Courier follows this, but I could be wrong.

Adobe seems to be looking at an XML file that includes PDF as one part of it. This might be easier for database systems to cope with as getting XML in and out of PDF takes up some resource. For enterprise and government this may be a way forward but for print a PDF as it is now known, plus the job ticket in some way it is not going to get lost, meets the requirement for most people.

The Enfocus press release includes a statement by David van Driessche, Enfocus CEO. "Our support for job ticketing and JDF allows PDF workflows to be extended to include the original document creators; something that was clearly missing to date."

This is a significant intention. The 'original document creator' can create and proof a PDF for page description. Also they can specify the job ticket details as far as they need to. It appears this will all be in one file that is easy to check. From a quality assurance point of view this is document control as in the book.

There will be more on this later. Something longer will be on the WWW.atford website after drupa

Monday, March 01, 2004

Previous post was misleading in suggesting that Imprinta has disappeared.

Checking the site, it is just that the dates moved from 2003 to 2006.

http://www.mdna.com/shows/imprinta.html

I still think that a three year cycle for a show such as this is not the best approach for software issues. It could be annual but on a smaller scale.

So my guess is still that this coming drupa is a pivotal event. It has a very strong base in print as it has been. The online aspects are probably growing in such a way that such an event will not happen again in the same form.

See comments from Christian Gugler, Chairman of PrintCity’s Networking Activity Group. He has explained that the plans announced for drupa have "profound importance to the industry as a whole."

“Networking is far more important an issue than simply communicating small pieces of job and system data. As we look further ahead, at PrintCity we see that networking is also the essential prerequisite for structural change at a strategic level in the graphic arts industry."

“The industry must move beyond its traditional role as a creator and supplier of printed items, to become a provider of cross-media services. In that context, PrintCity’s Integration Centre and print factories show the clear paths to the future.”
There is an article by Frank Romano at i-grafix.

This suggests that the proportion of print jobs where the internet plays some part in the procurement will rise from roughly 20% at the moment to 80% by 2007.

This would mean that the Adobe take on 'Network Publishing' would make a lot of sense, though possibly not in 2004 as originally claimed when the concept was first promoted. Creo are now working on ideas around 'Networked Graphic Production' . Adobe is one partner with this and there is reference to Network Publishing as a related idea.

My guess is that this will mean that the 2004 drupa is the last one in this format. The four year cycle around drupa assumes that the machinery is the important feature. If the web is significant and print only one option for communications, then there will be many shows around the web that will contribute to discussion. I am not sure what happened to Imprinta. My guess is that this could have been a more frequent event between drupas, with an emphasis on software. In the UK, Digital Solutions and Digital Print World have shown there is a demand for shows around digital print that also cover workflows relevant to all forms of hard copy. Frank Romano's article suggests that the web will be involved in 60% of print procurement by 2006. What will this mean for an IPEX? It could be a very different show.
Previous post about the lack of stands at drupa seems to be largely wrong.

I am now a bit hesitant about making comments on the main webpages. Seems to be ok in a blog though. The drupa site did announce that all the space had gone and I did check the list at the time. So any future text could be wrong also. At least a blog can be updated.

Adobe will be at A33 in Hall 04 and A44 in Hall 6. This seems to be close enough to both Print City and the Networked Graphic Production around Creo. At IPEX there was a small space within the Xerox area as well.

Quark will be at A28 in Hall 7. No sign yet of Microsoft or Macromedia. At Digital Print World, Olympia last year , Microsoft showed a determination to establish Publisher as mainstream for pre-press. Maybe most people at drupa already know about this.

One of the Seybold keynotes will be about how graphic design should cover web, TV and hard copy. More about this later. People I meet working on the web often use Macromedia products so this has to be part of the discussion. Maybe Macromedia only wants to reach a web audience. Freehand remains a great way to produce hard copy. PDF files seem to be quite small for one thing. This could be pointed out more often.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Adobe will have a stand at Seybold Amsterdam, also hosting a day for developers.

This is a bit of a surprise. Last year the official Adobe presence seemed a bit limited. There were people there but they seemed to have turned up anyway, maybe in their spare time.

The day on e-forms will be relevant for JDF though it seems nobody will be using PDF for forms linking in to JDF. The server software is too expensive at the moment.

However the e-forms discussion will contribute to an advanced web services agenda. It had seemed that the European emphasis on hard copy would be a bit boring. In the buildup to drupa though, there will be no harm in going through the case for PDF and JDF one more time. Quark and Microsoft will be there so there could be a software discussion ahead of drupa. On the stands listing it seems that Adobe, Quark and Microsoft have left it too late to book a stand.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

It has taken a while to get back into the year, but writing may be more frequent now.

The Institute of Printing had a debate just before Christmas. I will write it up while I can still remember some detail but this won't be for a few days. I had to leave before the end to get back to Exeter but I did hear the main argumnets.

Although the motion that the print industry no longer needs skills was defeated, my main impression was the strength of the case that digital technology is now accepted for litho workflows as well as digital print as such. There was no attempt to argue against this, just the argument that new skills are needed for this approach to work.

On PDF, it was even claimed that most print customers are nowadays creating files that cause few problems for pre-press and that any issues around a lack of understanding will be cleared up soon. My own guess is that skills around tact and training will be needed to make print workflows seem less in need of skill than is actually the case.