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

Friday, December 16, 2005

"Classic publishing" moves to India

The new shape of Macromedia and Adobe is beginning to appear. This post is a first attempt to describe it. There may be something different later. The main impression is that the original Adobe project around Postscript and PDF is no longer at the front of priorities. Macromedia concerns around Flash for animated web design and mobile devices have more of a future. There is now a business unit in India for 'classic publishing'. The word 'classic' is possibly like the word 'legacy' for some computer people. It sometimes means those lumps of content you might want to switch to something else.

The business units are arranged around the customer segments, as explained by Shantanu Narayan, president and chief operating officer of Adobe Systems, in an interview with Forbes. The Creative Suite will now work seamlessly with Flash and Dreamweaver for creative designers. For knowledge workers, Acrobat will now work with Breeze for collaboration and video conferencing. For enterprises and government there is a life cycle of documents. This will now inlclude Flex as well as PDF.

"Finally, there is mobility: The possibilities inherent in alternate devices excite me the most. There are a billion people in China and India who are never going to connect to the Internet using a PC. They're going to connect through a cell phone or an alternate device. We have the opportunity to also provide an environment for people to engage with that information on those devices like what Macromedia has done with Flash Lite [for cell phones] and we have done with DoCoMo by bringing Adobe Acrobat to its cell phones. There are so many opportunities."

Notice that, as far as I can make it out, there is no mention in the interview of the "classic publishing" business unit. More on this later.

The enthusiasm for mobile devices continues with a robust view on infrastructure in the USA. "....when I talk about alternate devices--our telecom structure here in the U.S. is significantly behind. Look at Korea, China, India and Eastern Europe--that's where a lot of the mobile revolution is happening. It's the people there who are going to figure out what new solutions and services are required."

As part of the presentation of quarterly results, Adobe have published a guide to products and business segment classification. Also on the website are executive profiles. These show there is Macromedia representation in the business units. The 'Creative Solutions' includes Fireworks as well as the bundles of Creative Suite and video. Brian Lamkin is the 'acting' VP for this unit. 'Knowledge Worker Solutions' includes Acrobat, Breeze and FlashCom Server. The VP for 'knowledge worker solutions' is Thomas Hale. At Macromedia, Hale was senior vice president and general manager of the Communications, Publishing and Training Division. Enterprise and Developer Solutions now includes the Live Cycle server PDF products and Flex and Coldfusion. The VP is David Mendels. At Macromedia, Mendels served as executive vice president and general manager for Macromedia's tool and server product division. The 'Mobile and Devices Solutions' only shows Flash products. The VP is Alan S. Ramadan. At Macromedia, Ramadan was the executive vice president and general manager of the Mobile and Devices Division and performed similar responsibilities to his current role.

On the Business Segments Classification for Financial Year 2006, the final section is shown as "other", otherwise known as the "Print and Classic Publishing Solutions Business Unit". The VP is Naresh Gupta, who has worked for Adobe since 1997. He is also Managing director of India Research and Development. He started the Noida research campus and is now integrating the Macromedia campus at Bangalore. The product range may reflect those being developed in India as well as a focus starting with print and "classic publishing". The scope mentions 'e-learning', probably refering to Contribute. The base product seems to be Postscript, arguably the basis of classic print and publishing as developed over the years since Charles Geschke and John Warnock left Xerox Parc. Mostly the products seem to be for desk top publishing other than InDesign. Freehand in recent years has not had much promotion from Macromedia but it has gathered up several hard copy features such as support for multiple pages. Many people still believe it has advantages over Illustrator in some circumstances. Pagemaker is definitely a classic. Framemaker has a history on UNIX platforms and is designed to work with long structured documents, often linked to data such as XML. It is unclear when InDesign will be able to cope with long documents adequately.

As reported by Hindu Business Line, Adobe will hire an additional 300 staff in India. Naresh Gupta is quoted as saying "The Print and Classic Publishing Unit in India would be responsible for profit and loss of various products from both Adobe and Macromedia."

"This is a big move for India, as it demonstrates how we are moving up the value chain. Many companies do product development in India, while others undertake functions such as maintenance and support. Adobe is not only looking at product development, but also business development from India. I believe this is the first time a global brand is bringing business unit functionality to the country," Mr Gupta said.

Up to this point, this post is more or less based on facts, some from Adobe, some from other sources. Below is speculation and opinion.

The PDF theme seems to me so scattered about that it could become obscured. The market segmentation may make some kind of sense in launching products but it makes it harder for people to have a coherent view of the technology. Creative professionals understand there is some need for forms and corporate information. The 'intelligent document' marketing stream could include the original user base for PDF. (more below on the Job Definition Format). Knowledge Workers seem to be assumed to be only interested in the desktop. Generally,they do realise that something happens on a server.

Probably Flex will get more attention as a forms front end based on Flash. As with PDF forms the aim is to collect data as XML. Many developers will concentrate on the XML aspect and not be too concerned by the design aspects.

SVG Reader is not mentioned on the list of products. Open source needs to be promoted for itself.

There is no news I can find as to the Postscript work being done in Norwich, UK. This site works with Postscript OEM partners, several based in Europe. Actual production work for publishing and pre-press is now outsourced to India to an increasing extent. Maybe there is a logic in getting technical knowledge closer to this user base. Many publishing professionals will be happy enough to continue with Framemaker. Freehand still has a lot of supporters, including creatives who have managed to find out about it. Judy Arndt recently commented "Illustrator is now based on PDF, not Postscript. It's very interesting that Adobe PostScript technology is in the 'Classic' group as well. It might not be a bad thing for FH, to be in the hands of some Postscript experts. Adobe can't wean the whole pre-press world from Postscript, overnight."

Given this apparent priority for Postscript, it seems strange that Adobe are promoting a conference in January intended for the printing industry. I can't see how it makes sense not to confront print service providers with the full picture of what is happening in publishing and media. Maybe this is part of the intention but it is far from clear. In my opinion JDF is the minimum that print companies should be offering as part of a mix of services. It is part of the agenda for Momentum in Print but there may be a view that nothing happens very quickly in print so there is no need for urgency. The views of Frank Romano will carefully considered as he has raised issues around JDF on previous occasions.

Shantanu Narayan could be right about the potential for mobile devices, but for most of the planet hard copy still has a future. Postscript and PDF-X are both open standards to practical effect so there is wider support available. Maybe this will be needed as the Adobe marketing emphasis moves more towards online animation through Flash.

There is talk of developing better connections for PDF and Flash. It is possible to capture Flash in PDF but it needs reloading. Generally PDF files have not made good use of the capability to contain movies or sound. This may be because of a lack of bandwidth or a lack of understanding. A future PDF format (2.0 for example) might be more suitable. Then again if everyone was online all the time there could just be Dreamweaver sites with occasional Flash Paper.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I have been looking for a copy of Printweek with an article by Frank Romano about JDF. As memory serves, he questions whether print customers could contribute anything useful as detailed instructions given the number of problems they cause through unskilled creation of PDF.

Now this is strange given his enthusiasm in writing various books about how to create PDF. There must have been a time he was more of an optimist.

Meanwhile I have found an article on the web making similar points. The argument seems to be that there is no sudden return to justify replacing all equipment with new JDF compliance.

Also it is pointed out that only 12% of printers have IT staff ( could be less outside the US).

Can't find anything more recent to suggest his biew has changed. This could be an issue if he says much the same as at the Momentum in Print event in January. There may be some printers who would like to hear that technology issues can be postponed for a while, but are these the people who will turn up for the event?

According to the Editor and Publisher website the circulation for the San Francisco Chronicle is down 16.58% for the six months to Sept 05. The audience for the Adobe event may be expecting an integrated presentation covering the web as well as print. ( see 'the last presses' for discussion on web as an explanation for declining print circulations)

As far as I can make it out the front end of JDF is likely to be a set of constraints for people creating pages on Quark or InDesign. Quark have described 'job jackets' in some detail though the final release is not yet out. Adobe presumably will present something as part of the Momentum event. I have a vague memory of the presentation by Jutta Koch at the London College of Communication conference during Digital Print World. The slides are not available on the web. Maybe there is more to clarify in ways Adobe is working with OEM partners.

The original idea with Acrobat 7 seemed to be that the JDF could be created from the desktop in a similar way to PDF. This is the 'intent' level of JDF. Now maybe the details of the job have already been decided before page makeup happens. So the 'print service organisation' provides some kind of format or template, possibly for the print customer.

This would not require any great cash investment by a print service organisation. Maybe a recent PC or Mac and some current software. The time investment would be to get to a point where print customers believed there was an understanding of how JDf can be used. If it is getting easier to publish a PDF document to the web then it will seem strange if setting up a print request is more complicated.

After that it might not matter. Works instructions could continue on paper. The print industry may be no closer to computer integrated manufacturing than ever it was. Though probably some companies would be cheaper and faster that others so the reality of JDF would follow.

Friday, December 09, 2005

I posted a comment on the new blog from Bill McDaniel. He has left Adobe so has a new blog at

I suggested my first thought, that Adobe has finished the phase of Postscript and PDF as a way to represent flat documents on the web. He replies that he hopes "Adobe will expand the concept of PDF into something that encompasses the animated web as you call it. They have an excellent opportunity to find the correct blend of classic PDF-style documents and the new world of Flash style documenting that is emerging."

Let us call that PDF 2.0 or something like that. PDF as a container has some way to go. I still think there is a mass of stuff in the previous Adobe project that is now stable and will probably be included in offers from other companies, both for office documents and for prepress.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Adobe Macromedia merger is now a fact. I don't think it is just an Adobe takeover although the Macromedia name has gone. My impression is that the Adobe people have more confidence in the future of the Macromedia products than in the Postscript backlog they were working with. PDF was a way to transition from the printed page to the web. Maybe this is no longer exciting in San Francisco.

I am still mostly interested in PDF and I think it has a long way to go. Bandwidth like the future is not evenly distributed. On the planet print is still the main way of communicating.

Open Office and Microsoft Office 12 will both create PDF so it will stay around even if 'design' tends towards animation.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Cary Sherburne also reports on US interest in e-paper. An announcement form E Ink and LG.Phillips.LCD was previously reported in Printweek.

The previous week Printweek's resident columnist Lawrence Wallis described as 'arrant nonsense' a reported view from Bill Gates that print "will become virtually redundant in 10 years". The forecast is partly based on the latest iteration of e-paper as a foundation for comuter tablet technology. Wallis points out that the demise of print has been predicted "on umpteen occasions" since he joined the industry in 1949. He consider that print remains dynamic as new technologies support print production itself.

He lists some features that give print an advantage
  • no need for special equipment
  • no need for electricity
  • no need for telephony ( web access )
  • referable
  • comparatively cheap
  • portable
  • editorially disciplined
  • congenial to a user

These could be looked at as factors where print and online can be compared. Many people find a screen congenial on occasions. On the planet most people do not have access to a phone, let alone a tablet PC. I'm not sure about the 'editorial discipline'. There are some web news sites that employ editors. I submit stories for OhmyNews and find they are improved by the process. Often there are more interesting stories from other people that I find while looking to see if my own are accepted.

The heading "referable" may imply that the indexing on books can be relied on. The theme of Online Information is that 'everything is miscellaneous'. This may be something that could only work on the web. Searching for "Lawrence Wallis" on Google turns up a Seybold review of Typomania from 1996. I wonder if you would find this title from browsing in a bookshop?
There seems to be a trend for Adobe to insist on events that are centred on Adobe, rather than attending general shows. Adobe Live has been well attended in London and other European cities. However, I think something is lost by the lack of context.

Printweek now features a regular letter from Cary Sherburne, senior editor for This week she reports on Seybold's 'abandonment' of conferences -"once the most influential trade shows in the printing and publishing industry"- and states that Adobe have 'stepped in' with a new initiative. My impression is that MediaLive made every effort to continue the conferences. The original New York dates this year turned out to be close to Adobe Live in New York. Later dates were announced. The Amsterdam dates turned out to be close to the series of Adobe Live events in Europe.

Based on downloading the presentation files after the event, my impression is that the Chicago conference made a real contribution to the discussion around print. Quark made the first public demonstration of Quark 7, including ways to create JDF files from the desktop. So far I think Adobe have not fully described what may be possible using the JDF features in Acrobat 7. The fact that both companies are working on a new phase in workflow is obviously to be welcomed. At an old-style Seybold event there could have been some comparison, plus some research based comment on general trends.

It seems unlikely that Quark will be part of 'Momentum in Print' so many people will make their minds up later.

Adobe is also part of the PDF Forum for Print Production in Miami. The 'state of the art PDF creation' session includes speakers from both Adobe and Quark. The PDF Forum will be moderated by Stephen Jaeggi from Binningen, Switzerland. On the panel at Seybold Amsterdam he was on good terms with a 'wish fairy' that conjured up a group vision of a better future. His own contribution was that Adobe PDF server software be priced at some level more people could consider, given the realities of available budgets. This is the kind of issue that may not come up at an Adobe hosted event. Adobe Live in London had limited coverage of Acrobat as part of the Creative Suite, limited mention of JDF in PDF for print production, and almost no coverage at all of 'intelligent documents' or LiveCycle. Something like Seybold did a better job in presenting an overall picture of Adobe capability.

Seybold Amsterdam in particular was a major benefit in Europe for connecting with a web discussion linked to print issues on which Europeans made a contribution. This will not be easy to replace.

I am not convinced that San Francisco is still a place where there is much interest in hard copy. Again my impression is based on browsing the web, but I found a lot of interest in Web 2 and the recent event organised by MediaLive and O'Reilley. Macromedia were involved but there did not seem to be much interest from Adobe.

Maybe MediaLive would consider bringing a version of Web 2 to Amsterdam next summer. With a corner somewhere for print.

This coming week in London there is an Online Information show. Print is there by implication. Scholar journals are moving online but Oxford University Press for example is still mostly hard copy. There will be more on this later. Not much about Adobe as they don't have a stand.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

IP3 are organising a debate at the House of Commons about digital printing. Sometimes these turn out to be panel discussions. This year the issue is around the possible excess capacity for long run books given the growth in digital publishing.

I think that 'digital publishing' now includes online pages and downloads, especially PDF. a related issue is the authority assumed to be associated with different media. I think online is getting better. The Wikipedia is often updated so a stock of printed books may be losing in value, however well edited before publication.

The Online Information show will focus on wikis and blogs. After all these years it is still possible that some of the poeple attending assume that an article in a printed journal is somehow more convincing as a source of information.
The conference at the Digital Printing show last week was organised by the London College of Communication. I did an article for OhmyNews.

Some people would rather keep the name 'London College of Printing' but i think the conferrnce showed that the context of printing is changing.

Not many people turned up from the Institute of Printing, Paper and Publishing. Maybe it will be better promoted next year. The speakers were really interesting.

Friday, October 07, 2005

There is a conference in San Francisco about 'web 2,0' . Not sure what this involves but I am having a look as stuff becomes available. It has been going for a couple of years but I only found it recently.

There was a link on the Seybold site that turned up as Seybold Seminars were cancelled for New York and San Francisco. Medialive are now working with O'Reilley on this new conference.

I found an article by Tim O'Reilley explaining web 2 and this includes two coloumns of the old and the new. So 'publishing' is old and 'participation' is new. Presumably this means publishing as in chunks of knowledge as in books or static web pages.

I don't think Seybold was just fixed on that but the origins were in digital typesetting. I don't think this has gone away but there seems to be a major move in San Francisco.

One strange thing is that Adobe seem not to be there much. They came to dominate the previous world of Seybold and Adobe Live took over in soime ways. Maybe Web 2.0 works better with a wider range of companies so there is a better discussion.

Macromedia are still there. More news coming out so things could be clearer later.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

OhmyNews have published my article about ABC certificates and Digital Editions.
Accountancy Age has made a move.

The OhmyNews headline picks out the evidence of falling print circulation. I think this is fair comment. OhmyNews is working well as a context in which to think more clearly about what is happening.

Media Guardian this week has nothing on ABC or Accountancy Age that I can see. One day they will write about digital editions, including their own. Maybe soon.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Adobe have plans to create some form of Acrobat User community. As I am involved in the UK Acrobat User Forum I can see some problems with this if it is true that Adobe will not support groups that include discussion of other PDF products.

See interview with Carl Young in Planet PDF
He seems to have been not much clearer on Adobe pland after the PDF Conference and had some doubts about the '100% Adobe focus' - ''not being open to any solutions from any other, third party vendors, however valid or useful they may be". I think he has got a point. PDF has been intended as an open standard of sorts. Adobe has built up trust around this and there are ISO supported standards for pre-press and archiving. How are these to be discussed? So far the development of Acrobat has been helped by wider support for PDF.

Recently Seybold Seminars have been cancelled. Adobe Live is a great event and explains a lot about Adobe. However this is not the same as a Seybold event with editorial comparison of different choices. Once Macromedia is gone maybe there is not much to talk about. Still, something has changed.

Moving into the enterprise area is a new phase for Adobe and PDF. The established decision makers already have forms of communication. Adobe is only a part of this. Response to closed situations is likely to be limited.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

OhmyNews have published my article about JDF at Print Chicago. On the Technology page.

More later. There is a demoscene event near Exeter that I need to get to first. At Budleigh Salterton in fact.

Meanwhile CIP4 seem to have a really good presentation together. New directory on their website.

Falling asleep to the World Service one early morning I think I remember hearing that the Indian rope trick was actually invented by journalists in Chicago. Magicians in India then worked out how to do it. Maybe if there are enough reports about the potential of JDF there will later be more efforts to make it work.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Ohmynews have published the text on the use of print by themselves and WikiNews. They have added the fact that they also do a free PDF download of their print edition, something I did not realise. And they have left in the link to this blog.

Just as well as towards the end I started to write about something else that may become a suitable story for OhmyNews later but is better for a blog at the moment.

In the current Print Media Management Jonathan Levy is writing in a way that is open to interpretation. I think he might be saying that the print industry is not really offering much to the magazine production people who are becoming more technically aware. I may be reading too much into this. There is no mention of a rush towards web versions of magazines, although I think this is happening. there is reference to 'the rise of JDF and end-to-end digital workflows'. Maybe the magazine production people are aware of what this means and the print companies have not yet made the investment.

Printweek recently ran an article by Simon Eccles on the history of DTP from twenty years ago, a reassuringly safe distance. Both Chuck Geschke and John Warnock get a photograph but there is no reference to PDF or Acrobat, let alone JDF or XML. There is more going on now than is generally realised. I have suggested on the websites for Acrobat Services and WWWatford that John Cunningham from Adobe UK should be included in the Printweek Power 100. Companies like Heidelberg are represented. One of the criteria is 'influence'. The new version of InDesign has a way to create JDF. Probably before IPEX next year there will be ways to link in with this. For example Xerox Freeflow. Meanwhile Martin Bailey from Global Graphics has dropped out of the Printweek Power 100. I think this must be a mistake. Global Graphics actually concentrate on the print industry. Adobe may lose interest if they get somewhere with video. My guess is that they will not have their own stand at IPEX but maybe some small spaces c/o Xerox and others.

Printweek is published by Haymarket, who also publish Marketing. The Marketing article about the Wall Street Journal shows the print and online circulation in the same sentence. Presumably the people who work on Printweek sometimes talk to the people who work on Marketing. I think there will be some changes before IPEX in the way the print industry is positioned.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Link to article at OhmyNews

This is a version of a report from the Citizen Reporters international forum. It may be edited later. they may leave out the link to this blog.

It was surprising that OhmyNews has a printed weekly version. Apparently this is to reach the people who still rely on newspapers and encourage them towards the website. WikiNews has a PDF for download and some people are distributing short runs on campus or for a locality.

I realised I was going off topic when I got to a recent editorial by Jonathan Levy in Print Media Management. I am not really sure what he is getting at. He attended 'Vision In Print' and now fees that 'vision in print' is inadequate 'with the rise of JDF and end-to-end digital workflows' . the suggested phrase is 'vision in print media' 'to deliver the promise of a leaner and more sustainable future'. Previously I had thought of PrintMedia Management as pretty much part of the printing industry. Maybe the people in magazine production are now thinking about media in ways that include the web. Clearly there are now publishing organisations that offer something in print and online. This is something to come back to. Probably there will be more explanation in PrintMedia Management even though Jonathan Levy is no longer working as editor.

There is a recent book we were given in Korea called 'Media Big Bang'. I have started a page about this looking at the implications for ideas about quality. One term they use is morphosis, some policy on change. Maybe this applies to print and other media. 'Vision in print' seems to emphasise quality as consistency of current products. Improvement can happen within existing manufacturing processes. There may be some wider change going on. I have only started to read the book so more will follow later.

Monday, June 20, 2005

I have been invited to a forum for Citizen Reporters organised by OhmyNews in Seoul.

This blog may be updated over the next few days but more likely will be a short report at Guardian talk

My hope is that the Guardian reports this event and makes some connections.

Monday, June 06, 2005

I have sent in an email to Printweek suggesting they include John Cunningham as part of their Power 100 feature. There is an update on the semi-fixed part of this blog

This has photos. I realise I could have photos here but the other page is done now. Things do change very slowly. The selection of photos seems ok still. The Adobe video box is from the software parc at drupa. This will now go on tour so could be the highlight of IPEX next year.

My guess is that Adobe will not have a big stand. Xerox will probably find them some space as part of Freeflow. This will not mean that the Adobe software should be ignored. Acrobat 7 now has the capability to create JDF. Not many people are using this.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

I'm at Charmouth for the Home Education Seaside Festival, campsite music and talks etc.

The internet marquee is put together by Psand and Bristol Wireless. Satellite broadband and wifi. Mostly cable though.

What strikes me is that the web acces has been there for about 40 minutes now and the official opening is almost an hour away. Yet there has still been a request for full colour printing.Someone walks in wanting promotion. No solution so far but there may be a printer somewhere.

So the web and print can work together.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Adobe here in Hall 9 with the public sector. Also on IBM and SAP stands. I still have not found an online example of a PDF form supported by Reader Extensions but there are some clues to follow up.

No Adobe promotion on hard copy as yet. But Scribus are here in the open space at the Linux bit. Apparently paid for by the German magazine, there is a lot of Linux stuff here. Scribus can do most of DTP functions and export PDF up to 1.4.

Weblinks later. This place is enormous and I keep muddling it up with drupa. Suggest IPEX looks at CeBIT as a benchmark as well as drupa. There is time for one more CeBIT before the next IPEX. The technology available will influence what is possible with print.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

On my way to CeBIT at the moment. It seems will be there with an actual stand. At drupa it was quite hard to find them. The image on their site is of a struggle with a pile of paper.

I still think PDF is a benefit for the printing industry. Adobe just seem sometimes to be promoting the enterprise aspect as if it was a different product. Not much prospect of JDF turning up though.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

ICS Registry

just testing blogthis from Firefox

not sure how this started , right click to save PDF, then this option came up

is Firefox connected with Google? Quite possibly.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Simon Eccles, emphasis added

The Printweek from last Thursday (27 Jan) included a letter from Graham Pearce of Island Printers complaining about Adobe and the release of new versions of PDF that his software could not cope with. At first I could not see what the problem was so phoned him to talk about it. (Google found a phone number on the second suggested site)

Island Press has not yet invested in Mac OS X. This seems to be the crunch issue. To buy a new Mac and Creative Suite may cost £5-6,000. There are still many files in Quark 3.2 that work perfectly well. The few customers that have bought InDesign are prepared to supply PDF, so that's ok. They don't have Windows XP but do have Acrobat 5 running on Windows 2000. On the Mac they have Acrobat 4 and obviously could not buy Acrobat 7 without buying Mac OS X.

The problem seems to be that some customers have found out about Acrobat 7 and are sending in files in the new format. It might be possible to insist that customers saved in 1.3 or 1.4 and use the PDF/X pre-press standards as a basis for this. But some customers just create PDF without much training and don't really understand the best choices for print or web. Some customers may expect a print services company to be able to change the format version of a PDF.

However, is it reasonable to expect Adobe to stop with the features of Acrobat 4 just because this meets most of the requirements for print?

Printweek also features a review of Acrobat 7 by Simon Eccles (p 28) that covers the potential consequence of JDF for print workflows but without any sense of urgency or excitement as far as I can make it out. The opening question is 'who needs another PDF format?' coupled with the view that 'whenever Adobe updates Acrobat, all the service providers have to go out and buy a copy anyway'. 'If customers supply files in the new format, you need to be able to open them.'

About two thirds of the way through there is mention of the JDF feature, the ability to create JDF files with the PDF. "It's the first time this has appeared in a mass market application in a reasonably usable form.It lets you write a job ticket which defines the 'creative intent'". Actually although most print customers will be concerned with the 'creative intent' I think Acrobat 7 could create a JDF ticket at any level of detail required.

This has just as much potential to change the print industry as Postscript or PDF. The conclusion that this will make 'quite a difference' to 'some customer-supplier' workflows is a bit under-stated.

My impression is that PDF became established in UK print following discussions such as at the Digital Ad Lab. Publishers and agencies became aware of what PDF made possible, greater control over design, faster communication and reduced costs. Later print service companies responded to customer demand. Obviously this is a simplified view and there were some exceptions. Possibly JDF will be adopted in a similar pattern. Adobe seemt to think that most copies of Acrobat 7 will be bought by large organisations and architects or engineers. Some of these people will eventually discover the pre-press features or mention them to people in publishing.

Maybe I'm going off topic here. Obviously there are print service companies that can support JDF and offer training to customers. In the UK it seems most of these are the 'print management' companies that have created a link between customers and print. TripleArc are reported as moving into the 'data management sector' ( same Printweek, page 26). As mentioned previously on this blog, TripleArc were at IPEX 2002 trying to sell JDF software to the British printing industry. It has taken a while for JDF to become more obvious but there is no fundamental reason why print service companies cannot offer a JDF style directly.

If print companies do not want to invest in software they can still carry on printing with the same technology available now. There may be an issue with margins however if print is seen as a commodity and the value creating services are not seen as part of 'print'.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Now that Acrobat 7 is available there will be changes in the various web sites I work on. There will be an update of 'Hello Spiders', a version of my home page

It is still needing an update but this should be soon.
More evidence that the title of this blog is still sensible. IPEX 2002 was close enough to the 'dotcom boom' for broadband to be assumed. Some ideas went back a bit around the time of drupa last year. For example the collaboration and markup on proofs seemed a bit less obvious. Adobe server software is still expensive and not everyone will buy the full Acrobat. I now have a copy of Acrobat 7 and it works ok with Reader 7 for comments. Notes and mark-up are now available in Reader. However you can't also have signatures and form fields so you may yet prefer full Acrobat software. Not sure why this should be so, it may be a marketing policy. Basically you have most of Acrobat when you download the Reader, except it is mostly turned off.

Anyway, why quibble. Adobe Reader 7 is wonderful. You should download it soon if you havn't already.

The Job Definition Format is hidden away. It is not obvious that Adobe are promoting this. However it is there, under pre-press tools. Eventually several million designers will discover they can add a JDF job ticket to a PDF package with whatever level of detail they choose. Saved as XML.

Printweek includes the news that TripleArc has bought HFS Projects, expanding into data management and direct mail, described by Jason Cromack as 'data-centric solutions'. At IPEX 2002 the TripleArc presentation on JDF had a mixed response from print companies. Print Management has benefited from offering a database service.