Citation Software News, MAY 2001
Welcome to the May 2001 issue of Citation Software News,
which is an email newsletter that is published periodically
by Citation Software Inc.
This newsletter contains information about
software, events, and technical developments
that are important to print-on-demand
technology, and mailing-industry technology.
This issue of Citation Software News
focuses on the following topics:
- ReplyMailOnLine.com creates Business Reply envelopes, postcards, and labels
- Adobe Acrobat 5.0 Has Many New Features and Capabilities
- PPML Lays A Firm Foundation for the Future of Variable-Data Printing
- JDF (Job Definition Format) is Announced At Seybold Boston 2001
ReplyMailOnLine.com creates Business Reply envelopes, postcards, and labels
On April 9, 2001 at the Seybold Conference in
Boston, Citation Software Inc. introduced its
new on-line mailpiece-design service,
This service lets you use your Web browser
to create the artwork for a Business Reply
envelope, postcard or label and download it
in PDF format. International Business
Reply envelopes/postcards and Courtesy
Reply envelopes/postcards can also be created
(ReplyMailOnLine.com is referred to as a "mailpiece-design"
service because the U.S. Postal Service
refers to envelopes, postcards, and labels
How Does ReplyMailOnLine.com work?
A user accesses the ReplyMailOnLine.com
service by pointing his Web browser at
After entering a few pieces of information
(e.g., mailing address, dimensions of the
mailpiece, Business Reply Permit Number),
the user clicks a button - and in just a
few seconds, ReplyMailOnLine.com automatically
creates a PDF file containing a mailpiece
that is customized according to the
user's specifications. The mailpiece is
laid out according to the U.S. Postal
Service's rules, and it contains all
the printed elements required by the U.S.
Postal Service - including the bar codes.
The user downloads the PDF file to his
computer, uses the Adobe Acrobat software,
Adobe Acrobat Reader software (free from
Adobe Systems Incorporated),
software to open it, and prints the mailpiece.
Why Is ReplyMailOnLine.com Needed?
Traditionally, creating Business Reply,
Courtesy Reply, and International Business
Reply mailpieces (known collectively as "Reply
mailpieces") has been a labor-intensive
and error-prone process. That's because
the U.S.Postal Service has complicated
rules that dictate how Reply mailpieces
must be formatted. For example: there
are rules that specify the minimum and
maximum length and height of each type of
Reply mailpiece, the ratio of the length
to the height, the size and style of
the fonts (typefaces) that are used for
the various text elements, the placement
of the text elements and graphic elements
relative to each other, and many other
things. For most people, it would take
at least a couple of hours to create a
Reply mailpiece with illustration software
such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW.
Furthermore, even with careful attention to
detail, it is easy to make mistakes - and
mistakes on a Reply Mailpiece can be costly.
(In some situations, the Postal Service
charges extra money to process improperly
formatted Reply mailpieces. In other
situations, the Postal Service might
refuse to allow improperly formatted Reply
mailpieces to be used; the consequences can
be expensive if thousands of improperly
formatted mailpieces have already been printed.)
Because the ReplyMailOnLine.com service is
inexpensive, easy to use, and readily
available (anyone with a Web browser and
an Internet connection can use it), it
will be a boon to direct-marketing companies,
fund-raising groups, government agencies,
printing companies, the U.S. Postal Service,
small-business owners, and other individuals
and organizations who need to create Reply
Currently, a working prototype of
ReplyMailOnLine.com is available for use
FREE OF CHARGE at www.ReplyMailOnLine.com.
Citation Software Inc. expects that the
full-fledged version of ReplyMailOnLine.com
will be available to users sometime during
the month of May 2001.
ReplyMailOnLine.com users will be able to
choose from two payment plans:
- Pay-As-You-Go Plan - Pay $2.00 US per mailpiece to create
standard-sized Business Reply envelopes &
postcards and standard-sized Courtesy Reply
envelopes & postcards that have printer's
marks (crop marks, etc.).
The Pay-As-You-Go Plan
is appropriate for users who (1) don't create
a lot of mailpieces, and (2) don't require
much flexibility in terms of formatting.
- Subscription Plan - Pay $25.00 US per year
to create an unlimited number of mailpieces.
The Subscription Plan makes available some
extra features that aren't part of the
Pay-As-You-Go Plan. Here are some of these
- In addition to Business Reply mailpieces
and Courtesy Reply mailpieces, Subscription
Plan user can create International Business
- In addition to choosing from a list of
standard-sized mailpieces, a Subscription
Plan user can specify custom dimensions for
- For Business Reply mailpieces, a
Subscription Plan user can create labels as
well as envelopes & postcards.
- A Subscription Plan user can choose
from two different font styles.
- A Subscription Plan user has the option
of instructing ReplyMailOnLine.com to put
blank lines or labeled lines for a return
address in the upper-left corner of a
Business Reply mailpiece or Courtesy Reply
- A Subscription Plan user can specify
whether he wants printers' marks on the
mailpiece, or whether he just wants the
mailpiece itself. ("Printer's marks"
are crop marks and mailpiece specifications.)
The Subscription Plan is appropriate for
users who (1) create a lot of mailpieces
and/or (2) need to have options in terms
Note to Reply Mail Designer Users:
If you own Citation Software Inc.'s PC-based
"Reply Mail Designer" software,
you'll be entitled to use the
ReplyMailOnLine.com service free of
charge for a period of three years from
the date of purchase if you purchased
Reply Mail Designer since January 1, 2000.
Adobe Acrobat 5.0 Has Many New Features and Capabilities
Adobe Systems Incorporated is now
shipping USA Version 5.0 of its Adobe
Acrobat software. New features and
enhancements in Acrobat 5.0 significantly
extend productivity and electronic-document
Here are some highlights.
Enhanced support for conversion to and from various file formats
- RTF - Acrobat 5.0 allows you to
save a PDF file as a Rich Text Format (RTF) file;
(The RTF format is
supported by Microsoft Office applications and by
many other applications as well.)
- Extract images - Acrobat 5.0
lets you extract images from PDF files and
save them as TIFF, JPEG, or PNG files.
You can then incorporate the images into
word-processing documents, presentation
documents, page-layout documents, and
HTML documents. You can "fine-tune"
your exported image files while you are
performing the export operation. For example,
you can specify compression settings.
- Save as images - With Acrobat 5.0,
you can quickly convert a PDF file into
TIFF, JPEG, or PNG images. Acrobat 5.0
converts each page of the PDF file into a
separate image file.
- Open as Adobe PDF - You can use
Acrobat 5.0's "Open as Adobe PDF"
command to convert BMP, Compuserve GIF,
HTML, JPEG, PCX, PNG, TIFF, and text files
into new PDF files or add them to
existing PDF files. You can specify the
color and grayscale JPEG compression
settings as part of this process.
New security features
- 128-bit encryption - Acrobat 5.0
supports 128-bit encryption, allowing you
to control access to documents by assigning
passwords using the highest level of
protection possible. You can also set
encryption to the 40-bit level,
which allows a secure PDF file to be
opened with earlier versions of Acrobat.
- Flexible digital-signature architecture - The
design of Acrobat 5.0 allows third-party
digital signature and PKI vendors such as
Entrust?, VeriSign and CIC? to "plug into"
Acrobat and enable eSignatures on a PDF file.
In addition, Acrobat provides an out-of-the box
Public-Private Key solution for workgroups in
which a third-party Certificate Authority is
- Support for public-key exchange - Unlike
earlier versions of Acrobat, Acrobat 5.0 gives
you the ability to request and exchange your
certificates easily with colleagues from within
Acrobat via email. You can use your
colleagues' public keys (certificates)
as encryption keys. This scheme ensures
that you can secure a PDF file so that
only certain people can open it.
- Extensive control over security settings - The
enhanced Acrobat 5.0 security settings let you
determine exactly which actions viewers of a
PDF file can take. For example, you could
use these security settings to allow others
to add comments to a document but prevent them
from changing the document.
Enhanced Browser Functionality
Most Acrobat 5.0 features and tools can be
used within Internet Explorer. This is a big
improvement over Acrobat 4.0, which is
usable within a Web browser but does not
let you use all Acrobat features within the
Web browser. If your organization uses the
PDF format for workgroup document-review
collaboration, you'll be able to move to
a Web-based review cycle with Acrobat 5.0.
Multiple users can view and add comments to
the same PDF file from within their Web
Enhancements to forms-related features
- Publish dynamic forms on line - Acrobat
5.0 lets you create PDF forms on the Web or
on a server with fields that can change
depending upon the data that is entered.
For example, if a person filling out a
health-insurance form indicates he has children,
the form could generate "on-the-fly"
fields for collecting information about his
- Support for XML - Data from PDF
forms can be submitted in Extensible Markup
Language (XML) format.
- Spell-checker - Acrobat 5.0 can
spell-check individual form fields and
- High contrast - Acrobat 5.0 fully
supports high-contrast settings.
- Screen readers - Acrobat 5.0 lets
you create documents that are compatible with
third-party, Windows-based screen readers,
such as Henter-Joyce's JAWS and Window-Eyes
from GW Micro, Inc. (Screen readers synthesize
text into speech.)
- Tight integration with other Adobe programs - Acrobat
5.0 helps graphics professionals build
consistent, reliable document workflows.
For example, Acrobat 5.0,
Adobe Photoshop? 6.0, and
Adobe Illustrator? 9.0 support the
Adobe Color Engine, Adobe's core
color-management technology. Sharing
the same color-management system provides
a consistent user experience and
reliable color when converting files
- Transparency - Acrobat 5.0 and
the updated PDF version 1.4 support
transparent objects, enabling you to
view and print PDF files with
transparencies created in Illustrator 9.0 or
Features for Automation/Batch Processing
Acrobat 5.0 lets you apply virtually any
Acrobat function to a large collection of
PDF files. It give you the ability to
easily create sequences of predefined actions
When running a batch operation, you can
specify how the resulting files should be named;
choose to overwrite the existing files
that are being altered in the batch operation;
and save the processed files in PDF,
PostScript, EPS, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, or
Document Analysis & Repair (PDF Consultant)
Acrobat 5.0's new "PDF Consultant"
tool provides easy access to Adobe and
third-party plug-ins designed to inspect,
analyze, and repair PDF documents.
PDF Consultant operations can be used
with the Batch Processing command and
automatically applied to PDF files.
You can write your own PDF Consultant
The estimated street price is $249.00 US
for all platforms. Registered users of
previous Acrobat versions can upgrade to
Acrobat 5.0 for $99.00 US.
How to Get Adobe Acrobat 5.0
You can purchase the Adobe Acrobat 5.0
package or upgrade from many sources,
Prices vary among vendors, so shop around
for the best price.
PPML Lays A Firm Foundation for the Future of Variable-Data Printing
Maybe you've heard of it, but you can't
exactly remember what it stands for.
"Whatever!" you're probably thinking.
"Who needs another abbreviation?"
But wait. If you make your living in the
field of printing and publishing , you
can't afford NOT to know about PPML. So,
here's the scoop.
What is PPML?
PPML stands for "Personalized
Print Markup Language."
Here is a basic definition:
PPML is a new, XML-based software standard
for variable-data printing.
Below, we'll flesh out this definition as we talk
more about exactly what PPML is and what it does. But first,
let's talk about where PPML came from, and why.
Who Developed PPML?
The PPML standard was developed by The
Digital Printing Initiative (PODi).
PODi, formerly known as the Print On Demand Initiative, is
a not-for-profit multi-vendor initiative that's working to develop
the market for digital printing.
Quite a few high-profile companies belong to PODi. Here
is a list of some of them:
- Adobe Systems Incorporated
- Electronics for Imaging (EFI)
Why Did PODi Think There Was a Need for PPML?
To understand why PODi thought that PPML was needed,
you first need to understand that variable-data
print jobs are likely to print more slowly than
non-variable-data print jobs.
Depending on the types of documents that
you are printing, this
can be a mild problem, a moderate problem,
or a very severe problem. In some
situations, variable-data print jobs
print so slowly that it might not even be profitable
for a printing company to take on such jobs.
This degradation in print speed is
one of the major challenges faced by
printing companies that want to participate
in the variable-data-printing marketplace.
While they were developing the PPML specification,
the PODi members devoted much attention
to this issue.
Why Do Variable-Data Jobs Print Slowly?
As we've said, a variable-data print job will
probably take longer to print than a similar,
job. This happens because - with the variable-data-print
job - the
code for each and every text element and the code
for each and every
graphic element on each and every page must be sent to
each time that a customized version of that
page is printed, and the printer/RIP must
rasterize all of this code each time it is sent.
is the process of converting code that describes
text and graphics into the format that is
required by the "print engine," which
is the machinery that actually puts the marks
on the page.)
This is not the case
with non-variable-data print jobs. With a
non-variable-data print job, the code for the text elements
and graphic elements on each page must be sent to the
printer/RIP and rasterized by the printer/RIP only once;
then the printer can
print as many copies as required.
A simple example will illustrate this concept.
Let's say that you run an
automobile dealership, and you are going to
print 300 copies of a single-page marketing
brochure that will be mailed to potential
customers whose names and addresses are
contained in a mailing list. The brochure
has a picture of the latest model of your
manufacturer's SUV; and it also has some
text that gives the name, street address,
phone number, Web-site address, and
business hours for your
If you are truly printing "copies"
(i.e., if all the brochures are identical),
the code that describes the brochure's text and
graphic elements will be sent to your
printer/RIP by your computer only once.
The printer/RIP will rasterize this code, and
then it will print the 300
brochures. The computer doesn't need to
download the code for the text and graphics 300 times,
and the printer/RIP doesn't need to rasterize the code
300 times. Instead, the computer
downloads the information once, and the printer/RIP
once and keeps the raster image
(the result of the rasterization process)
in memory until
the 300 pages have been printed.
Now let's say that you decide to customize
the brochures in some way. For example,
you might decide to
tailor the picture of the car on the brochure
to the anticipated preferences of the person
to whom it will be mailed.
You decide that a person's age might be a
good indicator of the type of car that
he or she might be interested in. Fortunately
for you, your mailing list contains each
person's birth date as well as the person's
name and address. So you decide to put a
photo of an economy
car on the brochure that will be mailed
to people under the age of 25 (these folks
are probably in college or are just starting
out in their careers), you decide to put
a photo of an SUV on the brochures that you
will mail to people between the ages of
25 and 50 (many of these individuals probably
have children and are likely to
want a large, rugged vehicle), and you decide
to put a photo of a luxury sedan on the
brochures to be mailed to people over the age
of 50 (these people are likely to be more
affluent and are likely to place a higher
value on comfort than the other two age groups).
Now - unless you are utilizing special variable-data-printing
technology - when it's time to print the 300
customized brochures, your computer will need to download the code for
300 pages of text and graphics to your
printer/RIP instead of downloading the code for
just one page, and the printer/RIP will need
to rasterize 300 pages of code instead of
rasterizing one page of code. Why? Because
printers/RIPs are generally "page-oriented."
In other words, a page is the smallest printed element
that a printer/RIP deals with. Because of this, if
you are printing multiple pages that are not 100%
identical, your printer/RIP
needs to get the entire description of each
page to be printed.
It's a Problem of Redundancy Problem!
If you think about the situation described above,
it becomes obvious that what's needed is some way
to eliminate redundancy. In this example, only
three different photos are being used (the economy car, the SUV, and the
luxury sedan). Nevertheless, your computer
has to download code for 300 photos,
and your printer/RIP has to process all of
your computer has to download the code for the text on the
brochure 300 times, and your printer/RIP has
to process this code 300 times - even though exactly the
same text is being used on all of the brochures.
So now you can understand why print speed
is a major challenge when dealing with
Various hardware and software vendors have
developed proprietary technologies to
address the problem described above and
variable-data print jobs print faster.
These technologies are sometimes
known as "print-optimization technologies."
Some of the print-optimization technologies
in use currently are:
- Diamond Merge from ColorAge
- Fiery Free Form from EFI
- VariScript from Varis
- VIPP from Xerox
- VPS from Scitex.
PODi Decides That a Common Standard is Needed
Sometime around 1998, several of the major PODi
member organizations came to understand that the
market potential of
technology had not been realized - even though it
has been possible to print high-quality,
documents since the advent of digital printing in 1993.
One reason that the digital-printing market
had not been exploited fully
was the lack of an industry standard
for printing color pages with high-quality,
(Color pages with high-quality, reusable content - such
as photos - pose a special challenge for
variable-data-printing projects. That's because
large amounts of data are required to represent
these color elements, and - as you've seen -
the need to transfer data to the printer/RIP multiple times
slows down the printing process.)
Although the print-optimization technologies
listed above had gone a
long way toward meeting the challenge of making
variable-data jobs print faster by reducing
the lack of a common standard made
it difficult for interested developers of
variable-data-printing applications and devices
to anticipate a broad market.
The PODi member organizations knew that
the absence of a common print-optimization
standard also made it confusing and
risky for printing companies to venture into
the variable-data-printing marketplace.
To address this problem, several major
PODi member organizations voted in 1999 to develop
a new standard print language for
personalized printing. PPML is the language that
of this development effort.
How Does PPML Work?
PPML makes variable-data jobs print faster by
allowing a printer to store text elements
and graphic elements and re-use them as needed. This
eliminates the need to send the same code to
the printer/RIP multiple times during the same
PPML accomplishes this in two ways:
Remember, we said earlier that printers generally
don't understand anything smaller than a page.
This change from "page-level granularity"
to "object-level granularity"
is a major step forward.
- By allowing printers to understand and manipulate
the components (objects) that make up a page.
This concept is referred to as "object-level
- By allowing application developers to write code
that attaches names to objects and
re-uses the objects as needed during the
process of printing a variable-data job.
In a PPML workflow, there is a PPML Producer
and a PPML Consumer.
A PPML Producer is anything that produces PPML code.
a PPML Producer is an application or a driver.
A PPML Consumer is a device, process, or system
that reads and interprets PPML code. Typically,
a PPML Consumer is a printer, RIP or Digital Front End (DFE).
Is PPML Being Used by a Lot of Companies?
PPML is an emerging standard. It is not in widespread use yet,
but thanks to support from high-profile organizations such
PPML is gaining momentum fast.
- Adobe Systems Incorporated
- Atlas Software BV
- Datalogics, Inc.
- Electronics for Imaging (EFI)
- Meadows Information Systems
- Xeikon, and
Which Hardware and Software Vendors are Supporting PPML or Planning to Support PPML?
As of this writing (May 2001), there are
several vendors that offer products which
support PPML and several other vendors that are
current working toward supporting PPML. Here is
some information about some of these vendors
VIPLine software from Barco Graphics supports PPML. VIPLine
is an authoring product for variable-data documents,
- The Macintosh version of Atlas Software BV's
PrintShop Mail application
generates PPML output. PrintShop Mail is a variable-data-printing application.
- Datalogics, Inc.'s
DL Formatter variable-data-publishing software
generates a form of PPML called "VDX" (Variable Data Exchange).
Systems, Inc. is adding PPML support to their
TUKANDA variable-data-printing solution.
Information Systems is planning to support PPML
in an upcoming release of their
software. DesignMerge is a QuarkXPress XTension.
- The Mpower and Persona variable-data-printing solutions
both generate PPML output.
- The Barco Graphics
PrintStreamer product accepts PPML as input. Barco's PrintStreamer
is a workflow component known as a "press server."
PrintStreamer provides storage of rasterized
pages and transfers data to the print engine at
a very fast rate. This maximizes the performance
of the print engine, allowing variable-data
documents to be printed quickly. Barco's
PrintStreamer is used with different press/printer
architectures, including the Xeikon DCP/320-D and DCP/500-D,
the IBM InfoColor 130, and several models of Xerox printers.
- The Xeikon eMerge
digital front end (DFE) supports
PPML. The Xeikon eMerge DFE is integrated with
the Xeikon CSP 320 D cut-sheet digital color
- In February 2001 at the On Demand Conference
in New York City, IBM
conducted a technology demonstration showing the ability
of the IBM Infoprint Color 130 Plus to support
the PPML standard within the AFP (Advanced Function
Presentation) workflow for printing variable-content
- The EFI Fiery EX2000 variable-data server
accepts PPML input.
How Should I Go About Setting Up a PPML-based Variable-Data-Printing System?
If you are thinking about using PPML technology
in your workflow, your best bet is to go with
a PPML Producer and PPML Consumer that were
designed to work together or were at least
many high-tech standards, things in the PPML
world aren't as "standardized" as we
might like. All PPML Producer
implementations are not identical, nor are all
PPML Consumer implementations identical. In some
cases, the differences can be attributed to the
fact that PPML technology is not yet mature.
In other cases, there are differences among
PPML systems from various vendors because
some vendors have chosen not to support
certain parts of the PPML specification. For
example, some PPML Producers and PPML Consumers
while others do not.
Bottom line (we've said this once, but we'll
say it again because it bears repeating): to
minimize compatibility problems when creating
a PPML-based variable-data-printing system, invest
in system components that were designed to
work together or at least were tested together.
Several software and hardware vendors have
formed PPML-related alliances. Details about
some of these vendors and their products are
Electronics For Imaging (EFI) and Pageflex: Last
year, Electronics For Imaging (EFI)
introduced the use of PPML in several RIPs for
color machines running at 12 to 60 pages per
minute (ppm). In February, 2001 EFI
and Pageflex, Inc. announced
a software-development and licensing agreement.
Under the agreement, the companies will
incorporate Pageflex's PPML-based
into EFI products to be distributed through
Xeikon and Pageflex, Inc./Meadows Information Systems:
The Xeikon CSP
320-D cut-sheet printer with the Emerge font end
accepts PPML as input. Xeikon supports Mpower and
Persona from Pageflex.
Xeikon also supports DesignMerge from Meadows
Information Systems. (DesignMerge will support
PPML in an upcoming release.)
EFI and Atlas Software BV: Atlas
Software BV's PrintShop Mail software is being offered by
EFI as part of EFI's
Fiery Velocity Design product. (As mentioned earlier,
the Macintosh version of PrintShop Mail produces PPML.)
Heidelberg and Atlas Software BV: Atlas
Software BV's PrintShop Mail software is being offered
by Heidelberg for
printing on Heidelberg's black & white Digimaster 9110 System.
(Again, the Macintosh version of PrintShop Mail generates PPML.)
For more information about PPML, visit www.podi.org.
For more information about XML, visit www.citationsoftware.com/faqXML.htm.
JDF (Job Definition Format) is Announced At Seybold Boston 2001
On April 10, 2001 at the Seybold Conference in
Boston, Adobe Systems Incorporated, Agfa,
Heidelberg, and MAN Roland jointly announced
the creation of the Job Definition Format
(JDF) standard. JDF is a new electronic-job-
ticket specification designed to facilitate
process automation, collaborative workflow
and asset management in the print and
cross-media publishing markets.
JDF is an open, scalable, web-compatible
job-ticket standard built on the success
of proven standards such as the CIP3 PPF
(Print Production Format).
Why is JDF Needed?
Today's document-production systems
cannot exchange all relevant job-description
information among the different subsystems
that participate in the workflow process.
JDF is designed to fill this gap. It is
being launched as an open, object-oriented,
XML framework for passing information or
metadata about a job from one set of
systems to another.
JDF Spec Will be Made Available:
The JDF specification will be published
by the four companies and made widely
available to all interested OEMs,
third parties and end users via its
Web site, www.job-definition-format.org.
About Citation Software Inc.
Citation Software Inc. is a privately held
based in Westborough, MA. Citation
Software Inc. has worked with
electronic-publishing technology for
over a decade; specializing for the
most part in on-demand-printing/publishing
technology, and mailing-industry technology.