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CIP4 and JDF FAQ
Table of Contents
Basic CIP4 and JDF FAQ
Q1: What is CIP4?
A1: The International Cooperation for the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press, and Post Press (CIP4) Organization is an international standards association whose mission is to foster the adoption of automation in the printing industry. CIP4 brings together systems and software vendors, printers, publishers, consultants, educators, integrators and distributors to define standards that support print automation, and to help educate and promote automation globally.
Q2: What is JDF?
A2: The Job Definition Format (JDF) is a specification and XML schema that is used to define the interchange of data between systems in an automated production environment. JDF is flexible enough to cover every process and supports all types of printing, including digital printing, offset sheetfed and web printing, gravure and flexography, wide format printing, and applications in packaging, newsprint, and more. JDF supports both process information for devices on the shop floor and customer intent information for front-end/customer facing systems, and includes a “Job Messaging Format” (JMF) that supports the command and control of systems on the shop floor by print MIS, scheduling and job planning systems. In addition to driving production, JDF can also be used to collect information from devices on work in progress and completed for reporting, invoicing, and systems management purposes. (See About CIP4 and JDF for more information.)
Q3: What areas of workflow does JDF cover?
A3: JDF covers the whole life cycle of a print and cross-media job, from concept to delivery. The JDF specification includes four major application areas:
Q4: Is there formal JDF compliance process?
A4: The JDF specification itself is very broad and covers every area of printing; however, specific devices only have to implement the JDF features that are specific to it operation. For this reason, CIP4 has created Interoperability Conformance Specification (ICS) documents that define the required conformance for both “manager” systems (that organize jobs) and “worker” systems (that consume and act on JDF) for specific interfaces in the workflow. For instance, there is an MIS-to-Prepress ICS document. CIP4 has licensed Printing Industries of America to conduct product certification testing based upon the available ICS documents. (See http://www.cip4.org/certification for more information on the JDF Product Certification Program and to see a list of certified products.)
Q5: How Available are JDF-enabled Products?
A5: There are hundreds of JDF-enabled products on the market, and all major press, prepress, and postpress vendors provide JDF features as either standard features or available options. Printers need to be sure that JDF support is a go/no go requirement in all their systems purchases, to ensure that currently purchased equipment can be integrated with automated systems today or in the near future. The JDF Marketplace is a directory that can be obtained free from http://www.cip4.org/marketplace that lists some of the JDF-enabled products available on the market. There is also the JDF Integration Matrix that shows integrations between products from different vendors either available in the marketplace or currently installed. (See http://www.cip4.org/matrix).
Q6: What if JDF does not support a particular function or feature available on my system?
A6: JDF is extendable and does not limit your ability to add new features to your systems. Namespace extensions can be added to JDF that provide compatibility while allowing the flexibility for individual companies to carry private data within a JDF file when they really need it. You can ask your vendor for documentation on the extensions they use; however, extensions should not be used as a substitute for elements and attributes already defined in JDF, and we strongly urge vendors and users to submit extensions that they use to CIP4 for consideration for future editions of JDF.
Q7: What is PrintTalk?
A7: PrintTalk is another major specification maintained by CIP4. Like JDF, PrintTalk is a specification and XML schema, but PrintTalk’s scope is to define the interchange of information between systems involved in the buying, selling and estimating of printing. PrintTalk covers everything from a request for quote and print estimates to invoicing; it may be used by ecommerce systems, print MIS systems and their front-ends, and web-to-print systems. PrintTalk provides a business context, and is an XML wrapper around a JDF product description. For more information about PrintTalk, see http://www.cip4.org/documents/printtalk.
Q8: Will PPF (CIP3) continue on as a separate specification?
A8: The Print Production Format (PPF) is available for download from the CIP4 website, but the PPF functionality has been incorporated into the JDF standard. JDF builds on and extends beyond CIP3's Print Production Format (PPF).
Q9: How is JDF used in production today?
A9: There are thousands of printers, prepress services, publishers and others using JDF-enabled automation around the world. Some are just starting and have connected a few devices; others have completely automated all operations and even automated connections/interchange directly with customers. The best way to learn is to review case studies and CIP4 has lots of detailed case studies that can be downloaded from http://www.cip4.org/document_archive/dc.php?name=wp_case_studies.
Q10: How does JDF relate to other standards?
A10: CIP4 has formal and informal cooperation with many other groups. Together, we are building bridges between islands of automation. CIP4 has formal and informal liaison with ISO TC 130, ICC, IDEAlliance, IFRA, PODi, Ghent Working Group, and UP3i. The standards can work together.
JDF Certification: JDF System Users’ FAQ
Q1: What does “JDF Certified” mean?
A1: If a product is “JDF Certified” it means that it writes or/and reads JDF and JMF as established in one of several “Interoperability Conformance Specifications” published by CIP4. These “ICS” documents establish the basic requirements for systems that manage or consume JDF. Certification means that a product has proven that it meets requirements for basic interoperability.
Q2: Who certifies that products are JDF compliant?
A2: Printing Industries of America has a long-term contract with CIP4 to conduct certification testing. If there is sufficient demand, additional laboratories in Europe and Asia may be added to the program, but for now Printing Industries of America is the single global certifying body for JDF systems and software.
Q3: How do I know if a product is “JDF Certified”?
A3: Products that are certified by Printing Industries of America will be issued a JDF Certified logo that will have a unique certification number. You can look up the details of that product’s certification history with that unique number at http://www.cip4.org/certification/certified_products.php.
Q4: Does JDF Certification guarantee that a product is interoperable?
A4: JDF Certification does guarantee a basic level of interoperability, but optional and advanced feature support for JDF may be supported by some products and not others; hence, when integrating two JDF Certified systems, some setup and testing will still be needed, but the two systems will share common denominator.
Q5: Are products that are JDF Certified intended to be “Plug n’ Play”?
A5: Professional graphic arts systems may never be “Plug n’ Play” in the sense of simple consumer electronics. Quite simply, there are so many possible variations of workflow and production techniques that it may not be cost efficient for everything to be “Plug n’ Play;” hence, CIP4 is focusing on establishing interoperability between systems from different vendors, and JDF does not portend to define “plug-n-play” for graphic arts systems.
Q6: Will certified products work with uncertified products?
A6: Certified and uncertified products may certainly work together, but you may find that it takes more time and effort to establish interoperability with uncertified systems.
Q7: How should I use JDF Certification to my advantage?
A7: For printers, prepress services and other graphic arts companies, JDF Certification is meant to be an aid for your systems evaluation and purchasing programs. If you don’t require JDF Certification, you should at least make it clear to prospective vendors that it is your buying preference. Buying JDF Certified systems and software should save you time and money when installing new equipment.
JDF Product Certification: JDF System Vendors’ FAQ
Q1: Why should I submit my products for JDF Certification?
A1: Many printers, prepress service professionals and other graphic arts users have found buying JDF systems to be a complex proposition. It’s been asked of CIP4 many times to establish a product certification program that can help the users quickly identify systems that are known to be JDF compliant. By submitting your products for certification you are making it easier for prospective customers to buy your systems and software solutions.
Q2: Do I have to provide a copy of my systems or software to Printing Industries of America?
A2: Not necessarily. If yours is a software only solution, it may be the easiest thing to do. If your system is embedded in heavy equipment, it may be cost prohibitive to ship equipment to Printing Industries of America. Once you’ve registered for certification, a Printing Industries of America representative will contact you to work out the most cost effective method of setting up testing of your system or software.
Q3: Can my product be certified to more than one ICS?
A3: Although not necessary, a single system can be certified to more than one ICS, but the system must be registered for testing for each ICS individually and multiple testing fees will be required. For instance, there are ICS documents for Management Information Systems: MIS to Prepress, MIS to Postpress, and MIS to Conventional Printing (Sheetfed). An MIS vendor may choose to test to one or all three ICS documents.
Q4: What happens if my product fails a certification test?
A4: If your system or software fails certification testing you will get a detailed report from Printing Industries of America specifying the failure. If the failure is something that is obvious and immediately apparent, Printing Industries of America may ask the vendor for an immediate resubmission at no additional cost. If testing is completed and a product fails, the vendor may resubmit the product for testing at a re-testing fee equivalent to the “OEM: No Modification” fee.
Q5: Do I need to certify my product for each version of JDF?
A5: JDF is backwards compatible, so if your system or software is tested for a JDF 1.3 ICS, then your system should be interoperable with all versions of JDF after 1.3. As new versions of JDF are published, you may want to re-test your system to ensure it is current.
Q6: How long is certification good for?
A6: JDF Certification does not expire. The date of certification can be found on at www.cip4.org by searching the roster of JDF Certified products by the certification number found on the logo issued by CIP4 for use by the product’s manufacturer.
Q7: If I update my product with a new version, is its certification still good?
A7: It is up to you to keep your system current. Please be aware that the product version can be found by users on at www.cip4.org in the information published in the JDF Certified products roster. If you believe that you are making significant changes to a product, it is probably wise to re-test the product. If CIP4 or Printing Industries of America are advised to interoperability problems with new versions of products, then they may cite on the CIP4 website that your certification is limited to a particular version of your product.