Latest Adobe PostScript gives Web printing a boost

Adobe is set to announce the latest version of its PostScript imaging standard, which adds heightened functionality to printing from Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF) files, Web pages and across the Internet to remote printers.

Adobe is set to announce the latest version of its PostScript imaging standard, which adds heightened functionality to printing from Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF) files, Web pages and across the Internet to remote printers.

Due to make its announcement at this week's Seybold Seminars, Adobe will be supported by software developers Macromedia, Corel, Quark and Fractal Design, which plan to integrate Adobe PostScript 3 features into their products. Apple, AGFA, Pre-Press Solutions, Peerless and Electronic for Imaging will represent the printer manufacturers, which will leave a glaring, but expected absence, say analysts.

"It's pretty much accepted that Hewlett-Packard has gone with Xionics for its laser products, but it plans to continue offering PostScript on its other printers," says Angele Boyd, vice-president of peripherals research for International Data, in Framingham, Massachusetts. "The standard is set by Adobe and that shows no sign of changing," she says.

Adobe has added to the usability of PostScript in several areas.

* PDF files can be sent directly to a printer and do not have to be decoded with an Acrobat Reader;

* Colour management and quality has been enhanced;

* The PostScript 3 Extended Font Set has been extended from 35 to 136 fonts; this eliminates most font downloading and thus reduces network traffic;

* A Printer Help Desk has been created that allows users and IS managers to check printers and job status through a Web browser; and

* Printing to a remote printer across the Internet is now as easy as printing locally.

Analysts are praising Adobe's additional Web printing capabilities. Users can copy a Web address to the printer, which will then pull the site down through the Internet and print it directly.

PostScript 3 also prints Web content more accurately by supporting HTML, JPEG, GIF and Plain Text formats. PostScript 3 also integrates with Kodak's FlashPix technology so that, when printing a Web page, the printer automatically requests the 600 dpi version instead of automatically printing the 72 dpi version that appears on the Web page.

"There are a lot of implications from the Web connectivity," says Charles LeCompte, editor of the Hard Copy Observer, a trade publication for the printing industry, in Boston.

Adobe officials expect the first PostScript 3-enabled products to ship in May.

Adobe Systems is on the Web at http://www.adobe.com/.

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