Alphabet Soup

The CIP3, formed in 1995, was formally known as the International Cooperation for Integration of Prepress, Press, and Postpress. Based in Switzerland, the CIP3 initiative was set up by the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics in conjunction with a number of press makers, primarily Heidelberg. The CIP3 included the major members of the print and prepress community, including Adobe, Agfa, Creo, Harlequin, Heidelberg, Kolbus, Muller Martini, RR Donnelley & Sons, ScenicSoft, Scitex and Xerox, among others.

Alphabet Soup

It was the CIP3 that came up with the vendor-independent Print Production Format (PPF) standard, or the CIP3 PPF. The PPF is a format that makes it possible for the various Alphabet Soup data generated within a prepress front-end system to be used for consistent administration and the subsequent processing of data. In other words, it lets users take what they know from the prepress system and use it to instruct other systems used within the manufacturing model.

Today, the CIP3 has Alphabet Soup morphed into the CIP4, which boasts more than 170 members from the print and prepress community, all actively working to build a new standard, the Job Definition Format (JDF).

Similar to PPF, JDF aims to standardize the print production process so that equipment from multiple vendors can participate in one start-to-finish seamless workflow. The JDF specification includes three major application areas:

* Job Ticket. This includes information about a printed product that may start with customer intent information and eventually include all process instructions and parameters;

* Workflow organization. This is a building-block model used by management, production and workflow systems to organize and automate jobs, including an extensive library of processes, parameters and job metadata; and

* Device control and automation. This is an open, XML-based command and control language for all shop floor and studio floor software systems and equipment.

For more information about the JDF or the CIP4, go here.