PPML is an XML open standard for variable data printing (VDP) that offers service providers huge advantages over current VDP solutions. The key benefits accrue from order of magnitude better performance, open standard that incorporates the latest technologies, compatibility with ticketing standards like JDF, and significantly reduced file sizes.
The key benefit of using PPML is the order of magnitude better performance over existing VDP languages. PDF (alone) is used by about 40% of all VDP service providers. However, PPML is a close second with significant performance advantages. These range up to 20X speedups for an 11"x17" (or A3) page with large 300dpi image on both sides and moderate amounts of variable text.
Actual experience by users e.g. Inter State Studio report 9X improvements for a mailer with variable imagery over PDF – in one case, they reported that they were able to print 35,000mailers per day with PPML compared to 4,000 per day with PDF.
The main benefit of the speed advantage is that it allows you to keep your printer running at full speed, and allows late stage asset replacement that does not require re-RIPping the file. All assets may be stored on a central server and pulled in on demand.
PPML3.0 (the most recent version) adds transparency performance. When PDF added transparency capabilities, marketers found they could increase both relevance and realism by incorporating it within their designs. PPML3.0 supports the efficient cache and reuse of transparent variable layers, enabling increased print performance when transparency is used.
Open standards offer service providers workflow flexibility, and protection from vendor lock-in. In addition, open standards lead the way in innovation, by connecting best of breed products, and offering rapid incorporation of technology advances, while being flexible in offering customization for your specific needs.
In highly competitive environments, you need a flexible system architectures. Open standards like PPML allow service providers to be agile and deliver solutions with much faster time to market.
In addition, PPML allows you to incorporate assets in your choice of format – PDF, PostScript, EPS, JPEG or TIFF.
PPML was designed to describe variable data content with the JDF job ticket. Like JDF, PPML is an XML open standard that shares the key tag definitions of RUN_TAG, SET_TAG, DOC_TAG.
PPML is constantly evolving to improve interoperability with other open standards like JDF. E.g. An example of the combined PPML and JDF from a single manufacturer would be XMPie's PPML within FreeFlow (Xerox JDF) tickets.
The PPML Technical Working Group (TWG) is actively working with CIP4 to clarify the JDF spec to enhance PPML/JDF record-driven printing.
PPML can dramatically reduce the file sizes transferred on your network and improve print speeds by orders of magnitude, compared to the printing basic variable data jobs from Windows. This is best illustrated with an example:
Example: Comparing throughput over a 100baseT network between the Windows Postscript driver printing vs. a PPML dataset containing Postscript & JPEG image assets (delivering the same end result).
Job: To print 10,000 pages with one of 2 25MB images on each page plus 50KB of variable data.
Data to be transferred per page = 25 MB + 50 KB = 25,050 KB
Total data for 10,000 pages = 25,050KB x 10,000 = 250GB
Transfer time across 100baseT network = 7 hours!
Data to be transferred for 10,000 pages = 50KB x 10,000 + 2 x 25 MB = 550 MB
Transfer time across 100baseT network = 1 minute!