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Sunday, May 26, 2013

OpenPrinting Summit / PWG Face to Face meeting 2013

Disclaimer: it's not for printing guys; not described technical deep inside.  I would like let people of application (such as LibreOffice), mobile, independent software vendors, cloud service providers know what we are discussing about printing standardization, and some kind of "seeds" to consider printing related services.

The meeting is annual joint meeting of two standardized groups OpenPrinting and IEEE PWG started last year in Apple Office, Cupertino, California.  OpenPrinting is for client side group, and PWG is mostly for device side group... But our world is changing rapidly. These two groups now cover technical area; especially mobile and cloud.

Sometimes I say "I'm a printing guy," but it should be "I'm a desktop side printing solution guy." In other word, I mostly know OpenPrinting side; Linux-based desktop or sometimes mobile side printing solution but don't know PWG side; network protocol, schema modeling or anything else.

So the joint event is good chance for me to know what kind of topics are hot right now in the whole printing world.

Starting Good California Days

I love California, because long time ago (over 10 years?) I've worked in San Jose almost one year.  Good weather, blue sky makes me happy (sometimes it feels boring for residents because they have 9 months of shinny days, but I'm a just tripper).

The meeting had been from 14th to 17th May, so I arrived 13th morning in SFO.  This day was off  so I went American very famous outdoor shop, REI San Francisco to check they sell some kayaking staff.

But I know Bay Area is not a good place for whitewater kayaking ;), so I don't feel so sad their huge store has no kayaking staff except some books.  Instead, I need to change my carry bag because old one's wheel had been just broken. I bought their private brand bag and "Canoe&Kayak magazine" as a souvenir for myself :)

Then I took a lunch in a small deli, walked around and took some photos,
Seems funny for Japanese :)
and took Bart, then Caltrain.

Trip by Caltrain was nice; really big train from Japanese eyes; even if I got off wrong station because of jet lag...  Hey Caltrain, please put your station name sign for poor foolish Japanese...

My good old friend picked me up and we enjoyed dinner in Smoke Eaters; very yummy but really hot chicken wings :)

OK, only one day I had a holiday. Let's go printing world :)

Very short summary

In my understanding:
  • Anyone already knows, the amount of office desktop printing should be reduced (especially hi-developed countries).
  • About mobile printing, we need more discussion about mobile printing not only technical perspective but also use-cases and scenarios.
  • IPP is already not a protocol, but a platform of future printing world.  Two interesting extensions came up, and in near future, software developers might have to use IPP directly without any OS assistance.

No one need printing?

About the office printing, you might be right in the future. If everyone has their own tablet and every meeting rooms has a projector and good wi-fi infrastructures, no meeting handout is needed.

But I believe paper itself is still interesting and powerful. Thus, we will find another good usage of printing; they might come from not printer vendors or OS vendors but Web-based application vendors.
Because only they know how to optimize their contents to fit actual paper sizes; and which kind of printing scene (in users' homes, offices or public spaces by shared printers).

Printing people should let the ISV people know what kind of technologies we already have and we'll develop, and get feedback from ISV.

Mobile Printing

Yes, we already have mobile printing solution in our hands; Apple AirPrint is already in the market and every iOS devices have printing functionality.  We can find the printers near from us with some capabilities (Color or B/W, Duplexer, ...) by Bonjour, then select a suitable printer and press "print" button.  It's pretty nice.

And now we have new standard, IPP Everywhere.  It's very similar as AirPrint with lots of enhancements, enough strength to standard of mobile printing... if printer vendors support it.  It need new implementation of printers, that's why no IPP Everywhere printer is there in the market right now.

Because of the reason, Canonical, supporting company of Ubuntu, now developing their own printing stack instead using IPP Everywhere directly.  They now trying to slice CUPS printing stack and use part of these to add some functionality supporting non-IPP Everywhere printers in the market.  Of course they have a plan that their implementation will become open standard.

Anyway... do we need print from mobile actually?  For me, very few, limited situation.  For example:
  • Take a picture, and print it.  ... replacement of PictBridge?
  • Print a PDF file attached an e-mail.  ... but gmail support Google Cloud Print so we can send PDF to the GCP supported printer directly.  It's better scenario than using resources of mobile devices.
Alright, iOS has iPad, and iPad has iWork; especially really cool presentation software, KeyNote.  If our mobile system has such kind of good office software, sometimes we want to print it.  Tablet devices has enough resources running office software such as LibreOffice (in the future).  
... Wait, if so, why we have to generate new printing stack for tables?

In my personal feeling, "printing from mobile" needs a visionary architect.  Lots of use-cases and scenarios are needed from software developers of mobile devices, then we should discuss what kind of functionality we need.  If we don't have these. just follow AirPrint or IPP Everywhere, nothing additions to reduce development human resources.  Make sense?

Yes, I know, I should discuss in the summit, but "mobile printing" track was too short and every people was talking very fast, it was little hard to jump in the discussion in my poor English...  And unfortunately, Till Kampetter, OpenPrinting Manager and Canonical Printing Team (of course Ubuntu Touch printing stack is his work) wasn't there (I heard because of immigration problem but I'm not sure).  Sorry.

Next stage of Internet Printing Protocol

IPP is a protocol to connect to a printer via HTTP/HTTPS.  It can use to get a printer status or capabilities, or send print job with "job ticket," what kind of output is needed.

... I should say "IPP has been?"  The fact that IPP is a protocol is still correct, but it also a HTTP-based API anyone can use.  Not only for printer vendors and OS vendors. You can control most of everything about a printer via HTTP if your software can connect to the printer directly.

I want to introduce two nice documents; one is a new specification and the other is a technical document.

First one IPPSIX (PDF) is an extension of IPP to connect with a software running on the public network to printer(s) on the private network.  It's for good solution for ISV to migrate software on-premise using printers to cloud.  Or it's possible to offer Web-based application service to provide printing functions for enterprise users.
We already have a Google Cloud Print (GCP) mentioned above, but IPPSIX is another open standard solution.  Competition will growth both services so I feel happy to PWG provides their new standard.
It's very new (last April PWG shipped first draft), so any kind of comments are welcome I believe.  Please check if you have interest your service will have printing features.

Second one "IPP Client Best Practices (PDF)" is a nice document to IPP client developer.  In good old days, application developers don't need about printing; just use operating system services.
Right now, using IPP inside an application brings new user experience in the cloud world.  but most of application developers don't know about detail of printing; printer capabilities, statuses, controlling print jobs, schema of job ticket... What should you do with IPP?
The document is an answer.  PWG people want to put basic knowledge to use IPP service and to control a printer.  The document is just stared and currently under active discussions in the IPP ML or conference calls. Please check it out!


Lots of standardization is in there, but right now I only want to say is "keep attention to IPP and related works!"  And if you have some comments from IPP users side, please join their discussion.

In addition, if you have interest in mobile printing, please consider about use-cases and scenarios and let them (currently, for Ubuntu Touch team) know.
Sorry I know we need such kind of things but personally I don't have good idea.  If you have help us it's really happy for me.  Please check Ubuntu's blueprint also:
Sorry for little long and poor English entry :)
And thanks for Apple hosting the meeting with free coffee and meal.



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