The NGP Partners have reached the goal of defining the critical sectors of the JDF specification that create maximum value for customers. The definition of this subset of the JDF specification opens the door to cross-vendor integration by summarising what parts of the entire 900-page JDF spec will be initially implemented by NGP Partner members.
In reaching this goal, NGP has published five documents that define two-way integrations between the various systems that are used by printers today. These include management information systems (MIS), prepress systems, press consoles/systems, post-press, and production planning software. The documents are posted on the NGP website and include an introduction to the JDF subset with a flow chart and sample JDF files that indicate how the integration can be written into a vendor’s software application.
Simply put, these documents act as the map of how two partnering vendors can each develop JDF structures into their solutions to simplify cross-vendor integration.
By adopting this JDF interface, the 36 NGP Partners can develop solutions that will be able to communicate with one another, thereby creating a family of solutions that can be combined to provide a seamless flow of job and production data across the entire production process.
These documents do not compete with the CIP4 committee’s work on defining JDF. The documents define how the JDF specification will be used for the most valuable and cost effective integration. By defining the minimum level of interoperability, they serve as models of how integrated parameters will function.
Bob Bierwagen, Chair of the NGP Development working group, says, “We’ve focused on certain criteria as a model of future integrations between partners. We feel that by making these very detailed documents public, we can help the entire industry see how vendor-to-vendor integrations can be and are being achieved by the NGP partnership. In addition, since all NGP partners are CIP4 members, we can provide direct feedback and real-world integration experience to the CIP4 working groups—who are focused on creating the actual JDF specification.
“NGP has created tremendous value for the partner companies,” explains David Sparling, Chief Technical Officer at Prism, an NGP Partner company. “Distilling the JDF specification down to a manageable, definitive subset makes it much easier for us to develop connections for our products. It makes interoperability achievable in sensible timeframes—especially important for companies without unlimited development budgets.
“NGP Partners are already working with these specs, and are at work developing and testing their efforts with other partners, and in some cases, client sites. This is tangible proof that the NGP initiative is delivering the value of JDF to the industry by creating JDF that works.”
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