Everything is getting bigger and better. Unzipping and processing a single 9GB job in a prepress department is not unusual. To search out a solution to improve this task, a trip to a trade show or enrolment in a webinar has you viewing a demonstration of flows automating job files by connecting folder to folder to folder. You envision a 9GB job lumbering along from folder to folder to get to its many processing destinations. For example, operators working in the sign industry would think that moving large files like this from folder to folder is a waste of time and would not speed up or improve productivity. They are right. This is not the right way to process large job files.
Creating a small XML file for each job that can serve as proxy for delivering information, making production based decisions and finally setting up the processing before it needs to begin is the right way. The first comment is “We are not able to create an XML file for each job and would not know where to start”. Here is where you start: Enfocus Switch along with its Metadata Module and Client Module will give you easy, step-by-step tools to create XML, provide a simple interface for job entry by first line customer service, and allow automation from file input to server to preflight processing to output. A bonus that may be of use down the road is that the XML file can be repurposed in spreadsheets, MIS systems or a production database. It is valuable information that can live on after the job has left the server.
The Client Module of Switch allows the input of information about a job including job number, job type, measurements, printing instructions. It runs on Mac, PC (iPad as well, but don’t send 9GB files) and connects remotely to the Switch Server. The client window can be customized to allow anyone to enter data correctly. Available features make it easy to build drop down menus, yes/no buttons and, based on the data that is chosen in a menu, submenus and fields customized for each choice. It can even control job number input to avoid typos. After completing the information the job is attached to the data and submitted into the flow. It makes its way to the server to be organized in job folders the way you want.
Once the job arrives at the server via a straight copy from one point to another on the network, it stays there until it is needed. It will not travel around. The Switch Client has attached all the information captured and it can be extracted by a simple “Export XML”. The tiny xml file will do the travelling through the flows and point to the job for processing when needed.
If you are using a configurator in Switch such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator or Indesign to perform actions on a file, the xml file can swap in the job file required, perform the tasks and save the changes into the job folder. This also works with any other configurator like Pitstop Server or Callas PDF Toolbox. The swap is performed by the Switch element “XML Pickup” that pulls the file into the flow at the last minute and attaches the xml data to the file for use in processing.
Because the Switch Client is easy to use there is no scripting required for creating your own xml. The only hard work is in creating the information you want to enter using the Switch Client to get your job from point A to point B. Once the job is submitted, the “Export XML” element will inject the xml into the flow to travel around and make decisions on process while the job is copied to the server to wait for further instructions. Now you can decide whether large jobs automated in this fashion can increase speed and productivity in large job file workflows. You are right – they can.