Sending jobs to print shops over the Internet could get easier and more reliable, thanks to a new software development kit announced by graphic design and printing powerhouse Adobe Systems.
The kit, built around Adobe's PDF (Portable Document Format) technology, is called PDF Transit and will allow customers to automatically create PDFs to preview and then upload into their print shop's workflow system just by pressing the "Print" button in PDF Transit-enabled applications and services, Adobe said in a statement. Other options that can be offered include billing and finishing information, Adobe said.
Implementing PDF Transit will require print shops to use a Windows 2000-based server for their part of the equation. On the client side, once the client application is downloaded, the option to print to the service bureau will show up in the print dialog box. The client runs on Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000, Mac OS 9.0.4 and higher and Mac OS X in classic mode, the company said. Paul Beyer, group product manager for the Internet Printing Group at Adobe, would not comment on whether a native Mac OS X client would be made available.
PDF is central to Adobe's electronic publishing vision and has rapidly become a de facto industry standard in recent years. The technology allows relatively small files featuring graphics and page layout features unavailable in text files to be viewed on any computer that has the Adobe Acrobat Reader application installed. PDF also replicates colours, fonts and graphic design elements across all platforms.
Working with print shops has been difficult for some users in the past, due to incompatible software, uncommon fonts or colour output difficulties, but PDF Transit ought to help ease these woes, Adobe said.
Print shops have offered FTP (file transfer protocol) sites where clients could upload files. But this never really solved the problem of the print shop having to mirror the original machine used to create the file in order to get the proper output, said Beyer.
PDF Transit will "reduce the barrier to getting to print-quality PDFs," he said.
That barrier won't only be broken for Adobe applications, Beyer noted. Since the client application is stand-alone, PDF Transit will "be available on and through any application available on a desktop," he said.
PDF Transit is available now in an English-language version, with other languages planned but not yet scheduled, Beyer said. Pricing will be determined by the OEMs through which Adobe will offer the software, Beyer said.