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PE vs APP vs Print Composer

kmccain
Visitor

PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Hi,


We currently use Editor and Print Composer to produce print and PDF manuals. I'm being asked about change page capability for an upcoming RFQ and what we might need to support that. Would that be DTD and style sheet dependent only or do we need another product completely?


I've looked at the PTC product pages and have to admit I'm not sure what the differences are between PE and APP. I can see that APP comes in desktop and enterprise flavors. But I also don't see anything about change page capability on either product.


I was hoping maybe someone on the forum could point me to a good comparison chart or perhaps share a little insight on the differences if you have experience with them.


Thanks,


KM


Tags (2)
37 REPLIES 37

PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Publishing Engine is a server-side instance of "Editor" more or less.
Authors use Editor (usually) to submit composition requests to PE across
their corporate network.

PE has the ability to use either composition engine (FOSI or APP) as well
as others (XSL, for example).

You should be able to use your current DTD and stylesheet although,
especially if you are upgrading version-wise, you will probably need to
make at least a few stylesheet updates to accommodate changes in the
composition product (even assuming you continue to use the FOSI engine).
You will have to make more updates if you have complex formatting
requirements. You Will have to make more updates if you are jumping "far."
6.0 to 6.1, probably not too bad. 4.3 to 6.1 ... lots of effort!

You may also be changing how your PDFs are generated. If you are using
Distiller on your PC, you can use it with PE but (last I looked) Adobe
licenses a server-side version of Distiller for a lot more than the
workstation pricing. (PE, too, will be lots more expensive than your Editor
license.) Many people choose to use the PDF generation capability that
ships "free" with PE "PDF Direct" or "Direct PDF" I can never remember. It
behaves differently in a couple of ways that may also require stylesheet
and supporting file (.dcf, for example) updates.

Moving to the APP composition engine is probably a much bigger jump ... but
I can't speak directly to that since I've never done it. Anyhow, if you
were using Styler, it wouldn't probably be that bad (assuming a minimum of
source edits), but from FOSI, it may be a big deal. Again, the more complex
your FOSI, the bigger the jump.

Change Page is something of a beast. Your DTD and stylesheet will most
definitely be deeply involved with that requirement. Again, not something
I've done, so I can't speak to that from experience. Whether there is APP
support for that, I don't recall. I think you're in FOSI-land if you're
doing Change Page.

Hope that helps.


On Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 1:15 PM, Kim McCain <->
wrote:

> Hi,
>
> We currently use Editor and Print Composer to produce print and PDF
> manuals. I'm being asked about change page capability for an upcoming RFQ
> and what we might need to support that. Would that be DTD and style sheet
> dependent only or do we need another product completely?
>
> I've looked at the PTC product pages and have to admit I'm not sure what
> the differences are between PE and APP. I can see that APP comes in desktop
> and enterprise flavors. But I also don't see anything about change page
> capability on either product.
>
> I was hoping maybe someone on the forum could point me to a good
> comparison chart or perhaps share a little insight on the differences if
> you have experience with them.
>
> Thanks,
>
> KM
>
>
>

PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Print Composer implies the use of FOSI composition engine.... just locally
on your PC rather than on a server. (Making explicit what was implicit in
my response.)

At least, I think this is true ... that Print Composer does not support
APP. If they added APP support to it, it was after I stopped using it.


On Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 1:33 PM, Paul Nagai <->
wrote:

> Publishing Engine is a server-side instance of "Editor" more or less.
> Authors use Editor (usually) to submit composition requests to PE across
> their corporate network.
>
> PE has the ability to use either composition engine (FOSI or APP) as well
> as others (XSL, for example).
>
> You should be able to use your current DTD and stylesheet although,
> especially if you are upgrading version-wise, you will probably need to
> make at least a few stylesheet updates to accommodate changes in the
> composition product (even assuming you continue to use the FOSI engine).
> You will have to make more updates if you have complex formatting
> requirements. You Will have to make more updates if you are jumping "far."
> 6.0 to 6.1, probably not too bad. 4.3 to 6.1 ... lots of effort!
>
> You may also be changing how your PDFs are generated. If you are using
> Distiller on your PC, you can use it with PE but (last I looked) Adobe
> licenses a server-side version of Distiller for a lot more than the
> workstation pricing. (PE, too, will be lots more expensive than your Editor
> license.) Many people choose to use the PDF generation capability that
> ships "free" with PE "PDF Direct" or "Direct PDF" I can never remember. It
> behaves differently in a couple of ways that may also require stylesheet
> and supporting file (.dcf, for example) updates.
>
> Moving to the APP composition engine is probably a much bigger jump ...
> but I can't speak directly to that since I've never done it. Anyhow, if you
> were using Styler, it wouldn't probably be that bad (assuming a minimum of
> source edits), but from FOSI, it may be a big deal. Again, the more complex
> your FOSI, the bigger the jump.
>
> Change Page is something of a beast. Your DTD and stylesheet will most
> definitely be deeply involved with that requirement. Again, not something
> I've done, so I can't speak to that from experience. Whether there is APP
> support for that, I don't recall. I think you're in FOSI-land if you're
> doing Change Page.
>
> Hope that helps.
>
>
> On Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 1:15 PM, Kim McCain <->
> wrote:
>
>> Hi,
>>
>> We currently use Editor and Print Composer to produce print and PDF
>> manuals. I'm being asked about change page capability for an upcoming RFQ
>> and what we might need to support that. Would that be DTD and style sheet
>> dependent only or do we need another product completely?
>>
>> I've looked at the PTC product pages and have to admit I'm not sure what
>> the differences are between PE and APP. I can see that APP comes in desktop
>> and enterprise flavors. But I also don't see anything about change page
>> capability on either product.
>>
>> I was hoping maybe someone on the forum could point me to a good
>> comparison chart or perhaps share a little insight on the differences if
>> you have experience with them.
>>
>> Thanks,
>>
>> KM
>>
>>
>>
>

PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Hi Kim,

I thought you may benefit from another perspective in addition to Paul's excellent response.

It depends on what change page capability is required, but typically this will involve heavy changes to the stylesheet. Certain requirements may be difficult or impossible to meet in an automated fashion. Arbortext had a Change Page Application product but it was custom-built only for use with US military DTDs and had many limitations and shortcomings and is no longer for sale, if that helps give an indication of the complexity.

While change page requirements can be challenging, I can confirm from personal experience that APP (3B2) has been used to fully automate change page handling for complex applications at companies such as Boeing and Wolters Kluwer. Boutique vendors in the community, such as my employer GPSL, are able to provide assistance with these type of systems.

Regards your questions on the product range:

* Editor - only for authoring/editing content, no print capability
* Publishing Engine - provides server-based print capability to Editor clients (amongst other things)
* Styler - is like Editor on steroids, and includes desktop-based print capability (amongst other things)
* APP - available as Enterprise, Server or Desktop

The APP "engine" is also available inside Publishing Engine and Styler since 6.0 M020 (I suspect Print Composer too, but haven't tested). This allows desktop or server based print composition via the APP engine. The dedicated APP Enterprise and Server products do not integrate with Editor (although they are easily integrated with 3rd party systems).

APP Desktop can be used for running desktop print jobs or actually editing the pages before they are PDF. Print Composer (FOSI) has no equivalent to this, but you can think of it like an editable print preview window.

I hope that helps.

// Gareth Oakes
// Chief Architect, GPSL
// www.gpsl.co

EXTERNAL: PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Gareth,
You mentioned "...Paul's excellent response" in your reply. I have seen no other responses to Kim's email. Would you please post more information on "...Paul's excellent response"?

Our customer sporadically gets very excited about change pages.

So far, the excitement has always died when the cost of this feature arises. However, we expect the subject to never go away entirely and expect that some future infusion of money into the program may resurrect the issue.

We are always keeping an eye out for any information on this publishing capability.

EXTERNAL: PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Hi Ed,

I’m afraid I don’t have your email address handy - if you email me directly at goakes at gpsl.co<">http://gpsl.co> then I will forward you Paul’s email.

You’re right that change pages can be costly but if you offset that capital development expense against productivity gains then you often find it makes sense.

Cheers,
Gareth

On 25 Jun 2014, at 21:22 , Benton, Ed L <-<<a style="COLOR:" blue;=" text-decoration:=" underline&quot;=" target="_BLANK" href="mailto:-">>">mailto:->> wrote:

Gareth,
You mentioned “…Paul’s excellent response” in your reply. I have seen no other responses to Kim’s email. Would you please post more information on “…Paul’s excellent response”?

Our customer sporadically gets very excited about change pages.

So far, the excitement has always died when the cost of this feature arises. However, we expect the subject to never go away entirely and expect that some future infusion of money into the program may resurrect the issue.

We are always keeping an eye out for any information on this publishing capability.

RE: EXTERNAL: PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Hi again,


Thanks for the great information, Gareth. That goes some way to helping me.


As a matter of fact, I did see the "Change Page for Defense" product in the PTC matrix and noticed that it only supported Editor 5.3/5.4. It happens that the dtd we are looking to support is MIL-STD-3001 so maybe that would have supported what we are looking to do for our customer? Are you saying that it is no longer for sale at all, or that it will never be updated to support Editor 6?

EXTERNAL: PE vs APP vs Print Composer

The Change Page for Defense Application has been updated to work with 6.0 and as far as I know is still for sale. It covers specific doctypes. I believe there are 20 or 21.

RE: PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Paul,


I have to confess I'm not sure exactly what APP is - a different type of print engine?


We use Print Composer in both node-locked and floating versions to support multiple authors and most of our stylesheets are FOSI, but we do also use some XSL stylesheets as well with it and they work OK if that means anything although we usually have to tweak things a bit.

EXTERNAL: PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Gareth,

Why not just post the information (...Paul's excellent response) to adepters? I am in the same position as Ed (intermittently the customer gets excited about loose-leaf change pages, then, when we ask for money, their enthusiasm dries up quickly). Anything that has to do with loose-leaf change pages is always interesting - one way or another.

PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Hi Kim,
You could adjust your print FOSI to enable some change page capability but you will still have to hack up the PDFs to deliver a good product.
I would recommend you look into PTC's Change Page Application (CPA). It is a fully automated change page solution. We had very demanding technical manual change package schedules to meet and CPA made it possible. We have used it for the past 4 years and we have not had any problems with it. It is an add-on to Editor, is server-based and delivers excellent page fidelity. There are several in the box DTDs and FOSIs that accompany the CPA and they are all defense related.


______________
Brian Wirth

PE vs APP vs Print Composer

This is my FAIR to GOOD response. But I had very little to say about Change
Page. I think some of you may have read Gareth's TRULY AWESOME response as
suggesting I had said something useful about Change Page which I didn't.

Or maybe some of you did not see my email at all. Not sure. If it went
totally missing, here's the bulk of it. I did send one other follow-up
indicating that I thought Print Composer = FOSI Engine (or that if it now
included APP it added it after I stopped using Print Composer) contrary to
Gareth's suspicion PC does include APP in addition to FOSI.


On Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 1:33 PM, Paul Nagai <->
wrote:

> Publishing Engine is a server-side instance of "Editor" more or less.
> Authors use Editor (usually) to submit composition requests to PE across
> their corporate network.
>
> PE has the ability to use either composition engine (FOSI or APP) as well
> as others (XSL, for example).
>
> You should be able to use your current DTD and stylesheet although,
> especially if you are upgrading version-wise, you will probably need to
> make at least a few stylesheet updates to accommodate changes in the
> composition product (even assuming you continue to use the FOSI engine).
> You will have to make more updates if you have complex formatting
> requirements. You Will have to make more updates if you are jumping "far."
> 6.0 to 6.1, probably not too bad. 4.3 to 6.1 ... lots of effort!
>
> You may also be changing how your PDFs are generated. If you are using
> Distiller on your PC, you can use it with PE but (last I looked) Adobe
> licenses a server-side version of Distiller for a lot more than the
> workstation pricing. (PE, too, will be lots more expensive than your Editor
> license.) Many people choose to use the PDF generation capability that
> ships "free" with PE "PDF Direct" or "Direct PDF" I can never remember. It
> behaves differently in a couple of ways that may also require stylesheet
> and supporting file (.dcf, for example) updates.
>
> Moving to the APP composition engine is probably a much bigger jump ...
> but I can't speak directly to that since I've never done it. Anyhow, if you
> were using Styler, it wouldn't probably be that bad (assuming a minimum of
> source edits), but from FOSI, it may be a big deal. Again, the more complex
> your FOSI, the bigger the jump.
>
> Change Page is something of a beast. Your DTD and stylesheet will most
> definitely be deeply involved with that requirement. Again, not something
> I've done, so I can't speak to that from experience. Whether there is APP
> support for that, I don't recall. I think you're in FOSI-land if you're
> doing Change Page.
>
> Hope that helps.
>
>
> On Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 1:15 PM, Kim McCain <->
> wrote:
>
>> Hi,
>>
>> We currently use Editor and Print Composer to produce print and PDF
>> manuals. I'm being asked about change page capability for an upcoming RFQ
>> and what we might need to support that. Would that be DTD and style sheet
>> dependent only or do we need another product completely?
>>
>> I've looked at the PTC product pages and have to admit I'm not sure what
>> the differences are between PE and APP. I can see that APP comes in desktop
>> and enterprise flavors. But I also don't see anything about change page
>> capability on either product.
>>
>> I was hoping maybe someone on the forum could point me to a good
>> comparison chart or perhaps share a little insight on the differences if
>> you have experience with them.
>>
>> Thanks,
>>
>> KM
>>
>>
>>
>

PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Hi Kim,

If you experience sticker shock at the price ofArbortext'sChange Page for Defense Application with consulting and maintenance, let's talk!A partner and I developed a proof-of-concept change pages application using FOSI and ACL, which I demoedto Ed Benton and his group a few years ago using Print Composer. The application is DTD-specific andwould be customized for your DTD.

Re: APP, there is a link on my website (



EXTERNAL: PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Yes. I remember that demo. It would have been feasible for us. I think at the time, our customer’s fervor for the application was either premature or waning. I don’t remember which. In the following time period, we have continued to hear rumblings, but so far no money has appeared.

BTW, Suzanne, your APP vs. FOSI link on fosiexpert.com would not open the PDF file in IE 11 on my PC. I had to download the PDF to my hard drive and read it there. It’s a very enlightening document.

RE: PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Suznne,


Thanks for the info and pdf link. That was interesting and definitely helps me understand the differences. It also confirms for me that APP probably isn't the way I want to go with this. I am waiting for info from my reseller regarding the Change Page app - it looks like that requires purchasing PE so I'm sure the price tag is steep. I would love a solution that would work with Print Composer so I will likely be getting back to you on this for more information about your proof-of-concept.


Thanks,


KM

PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Hi Kim,

Just let me know. In the meantime, be aware that in my experience, the most important thing is to fully understand the requirements ahead of time. This may not be as easy as it sounds. I have found that people tend to make different, unstated assumptions about the requirements, which can turn out to be a big problem if discovered too late.

Good luck!
Suzanne


EXTERNAL: PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Hi Ed,

Just let me know if the need arises.

EXTERNAL: PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Hi Kim,

I can't speak on behalf of PTC, I have only heard rumours. If you are interested to learn more than I would encourage you to contact a PTC representative who can give you the full story. For example our company (www.gpsl.co) is an Arbortext partner of PTC, or you may have a direct account manager available at PTC themselves.

// Gareth Oakes
// Chief Architect, GPSL
// www.gpsl.co

EXTERNAL: PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Hi Adepters,

While I agree that the FOSI-vs-APP PDF makes for interesting reading it is inaccurate on a number of points. I hate to disagree with Suzanne but I feel compelled to call out a few items, as the PDF is advertised as a factual document.

* "APP is for magazines". In fact I know of no successful implementation of APP for magazines.
* I have however personally seen APP used by big "household names" for successful production systems in areas such as:
* Service information (operator, service, tech manuals): aerospace, defense, automative, aviation, etc.
* Legislation and legal documentation: public and private sector
* Catalogs: parts catalogs, medical catalogs, chemical product listings, etc.
* Scientific journals, journal articles, books, scholarly monographs, etc.
* Codes & standards documents
* Tertiary & Higher education: textbooks, training materials, reference books, etc.
* Financial publishing: annual reports, shareholder reports, filings, etc.
* Pharmaceutical publishing
* Page 3 – formatting speed – neither APP nor FOSI are poor–performing print engines.
* We (GPSL) have been brought in a number of times to improve systems where performance was problematic. In all cases of perceived "APP slowness" we discovered it was Styler producing poor APP code.
* Page 4 – APP is not at additional cost, the APP engine ships with all Arbortext print-capable products. This is because APP is installed as the default and preferred print engine for PTC Arbortext.
* Page 4 – "Bottom Line". Whilst opinions will obviously vary, the table is presented as a factual yes/no grading. If we work purely from the facts then it seems APP cannot be marked "thumbs down" for: Designed for Service Information, Formatting Speed, Software Cost.

Now to personal opinions. As the resident "APP guy" I guess others may be interested in my thoughts based on 13 years experience with APP and 10 years with Arbortext:

* Complexity – for any non-trivial stylesheet, some type of software engineering mindset or skills are required. This is regardless of underlying stylesheet language or product. There is no silver bullet.
* Javascript in APP has brought significant benefits to stylesheet development. Can you guess what myText.color = "red" does?
* FOSI has some annoying shortcomings, making it really challenging to use for non-trivial stylesheets. The sky is the limit with APP 🙂
* FOSI is effective for simple jobs, but is a dying (dead?) language: SGML moved on to DSSSL, which itself evolved to XSL, while usable implementations of FOSI were only ever provided by Arbortext and DataLogics
* Mature implementations of XSL-FO (eg. Antenna House) are now price, performance and feature competitive with Arbortext for low-mid complexity print jobs. Meanwhile the Arbortext XSL-FO support appears to have stagnated.

Just my 2c worth, I hope it forms a useful contribution to the discussion.

// Gareth Oakes
// Chief Architect, GPSL
// www.gpsl.co

PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Hi Kim,

I thought I would write up some of the history of Arbortext/APP, as well as current state of play for the benefit of the group. I hope this helps answer your query "what is APP?"

In the scope of Arbortext print publishing, we have two different lines of ancestry: Arbortext and APP. Arbortext acquired Advent3B2 in 2004 to fulfil their future needs for a high-performance print engine. The 3B2 product was renamed to APP (Advanced Print Publisher) shortly after the acquisition.

As Suzanne's article points out, APP was originally designed as a desktop publishing product based on best-in-breed typesetting and advanced features. This was circa 1986; the best design decision made during inception was to base the document format on SGML. This was in the days of WordPerfect, WordStar, etc. which all relied on proprietary and incompatible binary document formats.

Fast forward to today and SGML effectively "became" XML, so APP is a native XML tool just like Arbortext. Along the way APP gained a whole load of powerful typesetting and composition features, and Javascript support to allow that power to be tamed.

Arbortext integrated APP into their core software such that there are now two print engines. Each print engine has its own stylesheet format, but you can use Arbortext Styler to write a "master" stylesheet which can then be used to drive either of the two print engines.

1. FOSI is a US DoD specification for SGML publishing. In Arbortext, FOSI stylesheets are merged with the content to form TeX documents. The TeX documents are then fed through the built-in TeX engine of Arbortext to produce DVI (print preview) or PDF.

2. APP was designed by commercial software house Advent3B2. APP templates are much more freeform than FOSI stylesheets (imperative vs declarative). Arbortext loads APP templates into the built-in APP engine and the content is then fed into APP in order to produce the PDF or print preview.

Each print engine has its strengths and weaknesses but APP is now the default print engine for Arbortext.

BTW, in case you're interested, Arbortext handles XSL-FO by translating the XSL stylesheet(s) to FOSI format.

// Gareth Oakes
// Chief Architect, GPSL
// www.gpsl.co

EXTERNAL: PE vs APP vs Print Composer

I just recently installed IE 11. Maybe the PDF plug-in didn’t get installed.

RE: PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Gareth,


Thanks for the explanation and history - it was illuminating!


I'm assuming then that Print Composer has support for either FOSI or APP? do you need Styler in order to create style sheets with APP?

EXTERNAL: PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Ed & Suzanne,

There are two similar looking linked URL’s on the Fosi Expert site, one good , one bad.

Good URL: “

RE: PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Great write up Gareth! 🙂


I have been meaning to finish my 'common misconceptions about APP' article on our site for some time, it will get out of draft status one day!


If they are of use to anyone here, some existing related content:


http://www.tformat.com/resource/Arbortext_APP_Evolution_EN.pdf



http://www.tformat.com/resource/Arbortext_StylerAdvFmt_EN.pdf


Cheers


Chris

RE: PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Hi Kim

RE: Styler and APP templates...


Styler uses APP.ddl for Print/PDF output by default, so it does create underlying APP JS-FOM stylesheet code. And you can 'save-out' stylesheets (templates in APP) from Styler to enhance/modify them in APP desktop for features not exposed to the Styler UI. Although if you need to do this to a great extent its probably best advised to start from scratch in APP desktop to give your the Architectural freedom this permits!


Regards


Chris




In Reply to Kim McCain:



Gareth,


Thanks for the explanation and history - it was illuminating!


I'm assuming then that Print Composer has support for either FOSI or APP? do you need Styler in order to create style sheets with APP?







EXTERNAL: PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Hi Gareth,

Thank you so much for your detailed email! Unfortunately, prior commitments prevent me from responding in full today. However, I should have a reply by early next week.

In the meantime, I verified that the APP formatting engine is installed with Print Composer in the 5.3 release and after. Consequently, I have removed references to cost from the paper (which now has a new file name).

Have a great weekend!

Suzanne


PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Gareth,

Thanks for continuing the conversation! Please see embedded comments in blue below:

Best regards,
Suzanne

PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Gareth,

Again, thanks for continuing the conversation. Please see embedded comments in blue below:

Best regards,

Suzanne

PE vs APP vs Print Composer

I’m not sure what happened, Suzanne, but it looks like your comments got lost in posting this (and also your other message).

PE vs APP vs Print Composer

Thanks, Clay! I can't imagine what happened. I am forwarding my Sent copy. Please let me know if it doesn't get through.
Best,
Suzanne


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