I am thinking about two articles for OhmyNews around IPEX, one as it starts and one towards the end. Adobe is still the most interesting stand although there is almost no information about it so far. In 2002 I did a story on the Acrobat Services website about Adobe reducing their space. As far as I know they have not really had a stand either at IPEX 2002 or the most recent Drupa. It is possible they have taken space this time as there is something to announce.
Whether this is so or not, I think Adobe is a useful reference point to show the context in which the print industry is operating. Sometimes it seems that hard copy is no longer interesting for Adobe. It seems to me that most energy is now concentrating on Flash ( see story in OhmyNews ). Maybe one pressure is that the original pre-press functionality around PDF is now available from a variety of suppliers. The PDF-X standards really are open in the sense that there is a choice in how to create them. Adobe have some good pre-press features in Acrobat 7 but it is not their main business and other suppliers update more frequently and offer dedicated and consistent service.
I am still puzzled as to how the 'classic publishing' business unit is supposed to work from India. Do they have a marketing budget? How will this be spent? will they be at IPEX? ( see my story at IP3 )
From the few clues available it seems that the Creative Suite will be a feature. Adobe is now divided into business units with a clearly defined customer focus in each case. Sometimes the paper aspect seems to have gone from the Creative Suite view of things. Flash for the mobile phone appears to be much more interesting.
Still today I found a statement by Shantanu Narayen on the occasion of John Loiacono being appointed as senior vice president, Creative Solutions.
"As we build out the Adobe Engagement Platform, centered around PDF and Flash, our creative products ensure that the content our customers produce will look its best, whether its on the printed page, an interactive web site or a mobile phone."
At least the printed page is in there somewhere.
Meanwhile it is still Quark where there is most promotion for creating JDF from the desktop. The 'jobjackets' are another name for JDF files as far as I can see. Long ago I though of JDF as similar to PDF in that it allowed someone with a persoanl computer to create a job bag as well as a page description. Now it seems that someone else sets up constraints through a job jacket so that the Quark page is created as expected. The control and responsibility is getting complicated. Presumably a print customer and a service provider can communicate to set up a suitable system.
Things are not well explained. At Drupa Adobe seemed to be very tentative about JDF in Acrobat 7 and there was little information on how this would work with InDesign.
Reviewing QuarkXpress 7 in Image Reports, Simon Eccles wrote "the virtually automatic implementation of JDF is streets ahead of Adobe, which has no equivalent in inDesign, just a badly explained ability to generate and attach JDF Job Tickets via Acrobat." so things have now got any better.
Unfortunately there are still some issues with QuarkXpress 7. Nessan Cleary wrote in Print and Paper Monthly "In theory, the Job Jackets are an excellent idea, but an idea that has been so poorly thought out and the interface very badly executed that it is enormously confusing."
So JDF is possible from the desktop, but not obvious. The second article towards the end of IPEX is intended to have some better explanation on this.
Writing in Printweek (16 March) Lawrence Wallis seems to see "e-trade" (interaction and communication) as a different topic to production automation which is where JDF comes in. I still think it is possible for JDF to be part of what the print customer is aware of. They will expect to be able to load a PDF directly to a website and to write a blog or comment. JDF is just another XML open source application so it need not be a mystery. This is actually fairly urgent for print in general as the web offer is getting easier to use.
By the way,
Print and Paper Forum, JDF topic