Why should you care about dynamic preflighting?

Why should you care about dynamic preflighting?
(PresseBox) ( Berlin, )
Well, what is dynamic preflighting to begin with? You know what preflight is of course: checking different properties of a file to make sure it will be suitable for your purposes. Modern preflight applications allow you to create a preflight profile; such a profile contains a set of preflight checks and fixes. Each check defines a potential problem you want to check for; each fix defines how you want to correct potential problems.

Historically most of the preflight technologies were developed with static profiles. In such a static profile each check and fix is defined by you and is used unaltered on every file that is checked. The included illustration shows an example of such a check on the trim size of a document: it shows how you create a rule to check the size of an advertisement in callas pdfToolbox.

The fact that you use static checks in preflight profiles has very important consequences; it means that every time you want a check to be different, you have to create a new preflight profile. And while that seems like a small thing, think of a typical publication where you have five or more ad sizes... If you want to make sure your clients deliver the correct size to you, you quickly see the number of profiles you have to create multiply or you have to build very intricate workflows with multiple preflight steps and a lot of duplication of effort.

Where most of the preflight technologies got stuck with those static profiles, callas software developed dynamic checks to overcome the problem. It's easily the most valuable and at the same time most under-used technology in callas pdfToolbox. So how does it work?

Well, compare the previous illustration with the one for a dynamic preflight check.

Instead of including specific numbers to check for, the preflight check now specifies variables. Each variable has a name (such as 'trimWidth'), a description and a default value. This means that the check no longer depends entirely on the preflight profile; instead you can run this preflight profile and set different values for the variables on the fly. When using automation technology such as DFlux, having dynamic profiles opens up all kinds of new possibilities. As illustrated in the screen grab from the callas pdfToolbox Server configurator in DFlux, you can now pass along the values you want to use, while maintaining a single preflight profile.

This means that you can now effectively check a property of the incoming PDF files - such as a piece of embedded XMP metadata or a part of the name of the PDF file - and decide how you are going to preflight that specific PDF file with your preflight profile. Which provides a way to avoid having to build and maintain a plethora of different preflight profiles. Everyone who's had to build complex workflows knows how much easier and quicker that can make your job.

Oh, and one more thing... Not only does the dynamic profile technology allow you to pass different values to a dynamic preflight check or fix, it also allows you to dynamically turn a check or fix on or off. That means you can build a profile where you decide on a file-by-file basis whether certain checks have to be run or not.
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