PSL is not a plug into static graphics products such as InDesign™ which limit merge speeds to 300 pages per minute or less. Rather it receives images from such products for users to use with a quite robust array of composition tools designed for VDP. The entire merge data file is normally brought into memory – resulting in the impressive merge speeds.
Since PSL Page Builder can run on as many cores as are available, including among multiple computers, merge speed is completely scalable. With a single core processor, and simple projects, merge speeds exceeding 60,000 pages per minute can be seen. Using three cores in an Intel i7™ chip, merge speeds of 180,000 pages per minute and more can be seen.
On the low end, on the 32 bit Page Builder (Lite) system such a project runs at 60,000 pages a minute.
Addressing merge speed for transactional work on Page Builder Pro, such as the Visa application included as an Example in PSL, we see, when running on three cores (six processes);
- 16,320 customer statements a minute, producing,
- 26,160 pages a minute, involving,
- 490,440 transactions.
An example perhaps more common would be the 4-Up postcard, with nine data driven versions, duplexed. That runs at;
- 84,500 records, or duplexed postcards per minute, printed four up.
Being a 64 bit application (32 bit is available) there are simply no realistic limits on file sizes, number of variables, number of images involved and the like. PSL users commonly produce
projects involving hundreds of thousands and even millions of pages. Certainly many PSL users produce millions of pages per day.
Using PSL’s Automation Tool, Robbie the Robot, production of a single job could be spread among multiple computers resulting in merge speeds in the millions per minute.
The PSL GUI has been rated the easiest to learn and use by experts. Truly complex projects can be set up quickly given the wide array of drag & drop composition tools available.
PSL Page Builder provides specialized composition tools for particular functions;
- Formatted Text – Word™ like (but better),
- Scaled Text for special effects like shading,
- Both text boxes include, scaling and wrapping, and all dimensions, including font size, bolding, slant and underline, super and subscript can be set to 0.001 units.
- Address Box – obeys USPS rules, IMB correctly placed,
- BarCodes, and finally,
- Custom Boxes for all manner of interesting functionality, such as 3-D bar and pie charts, e-mails, tables (for statements) — to be discussed elsewhere.
Jet Letter looks at composition as another area where automation can be applied. For example consider an N-Up project, such as postcards for three different customers, based on roughly the same data format – including a field for the product (or customer) involved and another for the income of the recipient.
The PSL user would compose three “fronts” depending on the product, and then compose nine “backs” based on three products and three levels of income. Once the composition is done the user checks the “N-Up” box and the “Layout” box and, using the default stock size (13”x 19”) PSL automatically fits as many cards onto the stock as possible, using the default gutters and margins. Users may of course change the default parameters if necessary. The user then indicates which “front” image gets printed for each record based on a merge value and which “back” image gets printed based on a “condition” involving the two variables produced much like the “Calculator” in Windows™.
The only other selection to be made is batch size, if necessary — then press the run button. Fronts and backs are printed correctly placed and in “cut and stack” order. Furthermore, should the user make a mistake (never happens), such as getting the gutter wrong so that the images overlap when printed – PSL simply will not honor a request to print.
And if the tools above prove inadequate the user can always drop into programming mode using the PSL language – the only modern dedicated VDP programming language in existence – to complete any project.
The reader might ask; “Why is composition being discussed in the section called ‘Fast’?” The answer is simple. PSL Page Builder’s composition tools result in a quicker set-up and more projects out the door on a given day. They contribute to profitability in several ways – including speed of composition.
Composition Automation is a companion to Workflow Automation discussed elsewhere.