The last few years, a lot of effort has been spent on the standardization of the workflow in the graphic arts and printing
industry. The main reasons for this standardization are two-fold: first of all, the need to represent all aspects of products, processes and resources in a uniform, digital framework and, secondly, the need to have different systems communicate with each other without having to implement dedicated drivers or protocols.
Since many years, a number of organizations in the IT sector have been quite busy developing models and languages on the topic of workflow modeling. In addition to the more formal methods (such as, e.g., extended finite state machines, Petri Nets, Markov Chains etc.) introduced a number of decades ago, more pragmatic methods have been proposed quite recently. We hereby think in particular of the activities of the Workflow Management Coalition that resulted in an XML based Process Definition Language. Although one might be tempted to use the already established standards in the graphic environment, one should be well aware of the complexity and uniqueness of the graphic arts workflow. In this paper, we will show that it is quite hard though not impossible to model the graphic arts workflow using the already established workflow systems. After a brief summary of the graphic arts workflow requirements, we will show why the
traditional models are less suitable to use. It will turn out that one of the main reasons for the incompatibility is that the graphic arts workflow is primarily resource driven; this means that the activation of processes depends on the status of different incoming resources. The fact that processes can start running with a partial availability of the input resources is a further complication that asks for additional knowledge on process level. In the second part of this paper, we will discuss in more detail the different software components that are available in any graphic enterprise. In the last part, we will discuss how these components can communicate together efficiently in a standardized way within the JDF framework.