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standards and technologies in variable data publishing

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  • standards and technologies in variable data publishing

    How do printers and clients understand and/or implement the various standards and technologies in variable data publishing (i.e.VDP)

    Tom Greer asked this a while back on PP. With new faces on the forum maybe there will be new views.

    Uncle Dave ifm

  • #2
    Re: standards and technologies in variable data publishing

    I don't recall asking that specific question... but what is always confusing in discussions about VDP is knowing exactly what the other parties are talking about. VDP applications are tailored to either Promotional / Marketing documents and campaigns, or Transactional / Business Process documents. The "new" so-called TransPromo genre is a branch of Transactional: it's simply a transactional document that incorporates a promotional message, usually an up-sale based on analysis of the transactions.

    The two types of documents are very different. The most profound difference is with the data. Most promotional VDP documents begin with a specially prepared database that is separate from the daily business processes. The challenge isn't so much the creation of the documents, but the tracking of results and establishment of a process to continually improve the original data by feeding back in the results of the previous campaign.

    Transactional documents work directly with the data stream produced by the daily operations of the business. The process must work. Every document must print, exactly. The challenges with transactional VDP are workflow automation and data integrity.

    So whenever I'm asked about VDP, my first response is, "Tell me what you mean when you say 'VDP'".


    • #3
      Re: standards and technologies in variable data publishing


      Could you rephrase the question. How about breaking down the question(s) into smaller questions. I am selling VDP and do this product but I am not sure if you are asking how to do it or how everyone else is doing it.

      And Thomas - you lost me about 5 words into your reply. I know you are the VDP techie / guru / pro but please none of us are programmers. The best way to start a good discussion is by asking what someone knows so we can learn from each other. Arriving and smashing tech talk is nonsense. When I see a post with your response - my initial response is to NOT check out your reply,. This is not an insult but rather I could care less about a techie talking when what I do is sell.


      • #4
        Re: standards and technologies in variable data publishing

        My post has nothing to do with programming, and has no programming code or "tech talk" in the post. I'd be happy to clarify anything I said if you have a specific question. If you're not interested in understanding what I have to say, fine: noted. No need to let me KNOW you're ignoring me in the future.

        P.S. The fifth word in my reply was "that".


        • #5
          Re: standards and technologies in variable data publishing

          I´m just starting my way into this thing, and i´m also pretty away from mainstream tech, but Thomas´s post does make a lot of sense. I too did not understand properly what was the original question, and well, i can´t really answer it, except if i take it extremely literal-wise.

          as of now, the printshop i´m setting up is working with Xerox printers (DC500 + Docutech 6117), Creo Spire Color Servers, and so we´ll be using at first the VI Toolbox for our VDP needs. The shop is an inside-supplier to the company, so the clients really just do whatever I tell them to do, in regards to database, and i get to fiddle with the programming by myself (still in training, machines not properly running yet...). Mostly, the VDP needs of the company will be in line with document randomization (we´re a long-distance tutoring Co., and will use VDP to print different types of test-papers to grade our students).


          • #6
            Re: standards and technologies in variable data publishing


            Hi. So there's another term, "document randomization" that probably needs defining. What exactly do you mean by "document randomization"? Are the documents, your test papers, already composed and static? If so, then your process would take a data file with different document names, and then retrieve and print the various documents. Am I understanding this correctly? What generates your data file? Where are the documents stored? Etc.

            If you don't want to disclose anything you'd consider proprietary, I understand. I just want to get a mental image of what you do. VI Toolbox is interesting... but involves a lot of manual creation of PostScript files. The learning curve on their terminology itself is pretty steep.


            • #7
              Re: standards and technologies in variable data publishing

              hmmm let me see how i can get it to be clear (bear in mind tha english is not my primary language):

              what i will be doing (once i get my print room done...3 weeks under construction to hold the 2 printers) is to set a question database into 4-5 different tests. i´ll state which discipline is being tested, what range should the difficulty of the questions be, and how many questions i want printed for each subject. then the program is going to run the databse looking for questions within my set instructions and print out the all tests with the same questions, but in a different order of questions (as in, test #1 has question X under the first entry, test #2 has the same X Q under entry #12, test #3 has it in the last entry, and so on), and each question with a different display of possible answers - objective questions, i must add. like, "which one is correct: a), b), c) or d)."

              the thing is that i´ll only have VI toolbox to work with, at least for now. and the fact that the local university does this with the same machine setup that i´m getting here makes me hope it´s not ALL that diffiult to do.

              oh, and i just remembers, each test also carries student information, such as name, registry code and whatnot...

              if it´s still not clear, pls let me know and i´ll try harder ;D thx


              • #8
                Re: standards and technologies in variable data publishing

                That was perfectly clear, no problem! With VI Toolbox, then, each of your database print files will be added as "Variable PostScript". Then, you can have a master page for static elements, such as logos, page headers and footers. You use VI Merge to marry them together. It can also RIP and cache the static master page on the Creo itself for faster printing. But initially, it takes a while to learn VI Toolbox and all of their confusing terms for things. But it should work for you. Good luck! The problem with it is that it works at the print stream level: you integrate and merge PostScript files. Ideally what you need is a tool that can do a database query directly, and directly compose the final print file.

                +Disclosure: I work for a company that makes such a tool, so my last sentence might be viewed as self-serving or vendor-biased. Well, that's just the way it is.+


                • #9
                  Re: standards and technologies in variable data publishing

                  np on the "bias"´s one of the reasons i actually joined here. to talk to ppl who know what they are doing. as i said initially, i´m quite outside the mainstream tech, being in brazil and not in the biggest centers (even though my city is considered one of the 3 bigger markets for print), so there´s some more things i can look up to get a hold on what exactly that is (i understood what you said, just need to follow the trail to learn more about such software).

                  Also, i´m not completely familiar yet with all the VDP process, since i´m just starting this job (and the printers are still offline) and the previous gig i had did not use VDP - i tried, but without success, to convince it was a good niche to start a small digital press room in an otherwise off-set environment. main issues: bosses did not want to hear the intern, and they thought it would be too hard to get customers for the process. so, i didn´t even got properly trained in it...


                  • #10
                    Re: standards and technologies in variable data publishing

                    I've always wanted to visit Brazil. What area? Here's our scheme then: become a customer and request me to come train you! I don't think there is any policy against me mentioning who I work for and what software we write. I just wanted to make sure it was very clear that I've switched gears from "general knowledge about VDP" to "check out my software it's great" mode.

                    Objectif Lune makes PrintShop Mail, for promotional vdp (postcards, fliers, etc.). It's great for one-off jobs, very easy to use, and takes about 15 minutes to learn. It does a nice job of imposition, too. The other product is PlanetPress, which is hardcore transactional printing and process automation. It's the tool that can do SQL queries and marry the query results directly to the document template, which stores all the logic for building the final pages.


                    • #11
                      Re: standards and technologies in variable data publishing

                      wow. wow... i actually toyed with PrintShop Mail in a exhibit in São Paulo in the middle of the year (june, IIRC)... it is indeed quite a treat.. and i´m in Southern Brazil (curitiba, to be precise). okay, i already love this forum...


                      • #12
                        Re: standards and technologies in variable data publishing

                        hi, everybody, how are u, a friend of mine recommand this forum to me. That 's really a good place. I'd like to share our ideas on VDP with you. Self introduction. I am from Haiyaa technologies based in Shanghai, China. we are a private software developer specialized to VDP market. Our flagship product is VariPrint. IIt's lucky to us Top 5 digital priniting centers in big cities around China are our customers. The software now has different version and optionals targeting to different market, including cards making, personalized doucment and transcational docu printing. More info can be find in our website If someone are interested in it, we can provide trial English version for test.

                        Edited by: Edward Tsui on Sep 17, 2007 10:05 AM


                        • #13
                          Re: standards and technologies in variable data publishing

                          I lost my message posted last night, be deleted??


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