by Harry Lewis

As anyone reading this knows, the AFP Consortium is always working to improve how AFP serves its global user base. We continued that work at our meeting last month in Boulder, Colorado, which brought together 26 representatives from 14 member companies. Over the course of the four days, we took steps toward better integrating metadata, improving security, and laying the groundwork for possible further ISO standardization.

Strong metadata integration has become a major theme for AFP. With this in mind, we are creating a new standalone “Metadata Formats” document that will initially contain metadata conventions for use with ISO AFP/A . This document will become a new resource as we flesh out metadata in AFP. The next major addition will relate to Tagging or “tagged AFP,” which will become the foundation for new flexible workflow solutions and accessibility features in transforms and viewers.

While we improve efficiency – something AFP has long been known for – we’re also looking to address some specific security needs. First on our list is to enable interaction with HSM infrastructure to satisfy encryption needs of the payment card industry and other financial institutions. This will become a PTOCA-based solution.

On another front, earlier this year, we announced ISO certification of AFP/A. Within the AFPC we continue to define additional function sets, such as AFP/GA for graphics intensive variable data printing. As new function sets emerge (e.g. metadata, tagging, accessibility) we will look to build out a series of ISO AFP standards whenever we feel that ISO standardization will have a major benefit to our user community.

As you can see, a lot of big things are in motion within the AFPC. We’ll be sure to keep you updated as noteworthy changes occur. Until next time!