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So what the heck is the deal with this job jackets thing? Well, to make a long story short, job jackets is a way for us to communicate what we really want to have happen to our jobs as they get built and when they go to press. It’s no different than the job jackets that you’ve used for years — except that it is an electronic representation rather than a big plastic envelope.
Well, that seems simple enough, but you may now be compelled to ask, “How does it work?” The devil is always in the details; let’s take a look at the feature’s background and then demonstrate some important job jackets functions that can save some serious time in our workflows.
This chapter will help you to understand job jackets, and what is possible. This is a first step so I want to go back to the very beginning. If you’re like me, you learn technologies by actually playing with them. I think you’ll find this chapter a place where you can get in to learn and master the feature set. At least, that’s my intent.
Introduction to Quark Job Jackets®
It would be improper of me to open this article without a little background on job jackets. As I said, I describe this feature differently because I often describe things with respect to what I can see them doing and how I can use them. So, here’s my take: I perceive job jackets as functioning on three distinct levels.
The first level is the container. Job jackets can contain different categories of objects.
- Style — QuarkXPress style resources such as style sheets, colors, H&Js, dashes and stripes, and lists. Use this capability to maintain consistency in design or as a repository for commonly used resources.
- Specifications — specifications, parameters, contacts, and descriptions come next. You can create layout and output specifications, output styles and setups, contact information, and different types of job descriptions in job jackets. The reason that I conceptually group these settings together is because they are all independent objects that live in job jackets that will later get applied to an actual job.
- Rules — special specifications beyond what we can establish in a standard layout or output specs. We can create rules to check for all kinds of things. You will see an example later in this chapter.
- Tickets — very special objects in job jackets that are essentially combinations of rules, specifications, and style resources that are used to create or evaluate an actual job, or more specifically, a real QuarkXPress layout. Tickets are templates, or the driving force, of real jobs. You will see this in action in this chapter.
The next level is collaboration. Collaboration can happen in a couple of different ways.
- Planning — multiple job planners in an organization could add information to job jackets. On many levels, this could simplify the job-administration process.
- Shared resources — multiple people can pull resources, such as style sheets, from job jackets. If they are all using the same resource from the same job jacket and we make a change to that resource, it could change for all the people using that resource. So let’s say I create a color called Quark Green, or Pantone 369 C, and I load it into my job jacket. Four other designers are using that job jacket for their projects. After some time I realize that Quark Green is actually Pantone 368. All I need to do is change that color at the job jackets level and it will change for the other four designers dynamically.
In short, job jackets is a way for us to communicate what we really want to have happen to our jobs as they get built and when they go to press.
The third level is evaluation. Setting all these rules and specifications is really nice, but how do we make sure that we are staying consistent with the rules we’ve set? Quark job jackets comes with an evaluation module that allows you to check your work and make sure that it is built in the correct manner. You’ll also see an example of this function in this chapter.
With the basic intro out of the way, let’s actually get our feet wet and play around some. We are going to automate the creation of a QuarkXPress layout with job jackets. So what are the steps for proceeding? It’s a four-step process:
Build a job jackets file.
Create a job ticket.
Use that ticket to automatically generate a QuarkXPress layout.
Create our job and evaluate that job for compliance with the ticket and job jackets specifications (that we defined in steps 1 and 2).