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Prepress software basically pulls together the content, pages, and layout of a job and outputs everything either to the plate or direct to press.
Some of the bigger prepress workflow systems on the market, such as Agfa Apogee, Fujifilm XMF Kodak Prinergy, or Heidelberg Prinect cover all aspects of prepress - from job input, imposition, and proofing to page approvals, platemaking, and output to digital press.
How an MIS connects to Prepress Workflow Software:
An MIS solution connects to Prepress Workflow Software using JDF - JDF stands for Job Definition Format and is basically an agreed XML schema. It was developed by an organization called CIP4 to create a common language that would make cross-vendor workflow implementations easier, especially when connecting software applications with Prepress software.
While a PDF file describes the content of pages, a JDF file describes what to do with those pages. It contains all the information that operators in prepress, print-production, and postpress would normally need to know from a more traditional job ticket.
To integrate your print MIS software with your Prepress workflow, you will need to speak to your MIS provider to achieve this. Often they will have existing integrations already in place that can easily be replicated in your workflow i.e. connections to the applications listed below, but they will also be able to create a new integration if you use an uncommon piece of Prepress software.
Examples of Prepress workflow solutions that MIS solutions may integrate with: