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Advanced function presentation (AFP) is an architecture-based system hardware and software for creating, formatting, viewing, retrieving, printing and distributing information on numerous printers and display devices. AFP composes an entire page before printing it, and the page elements in AFP such as text, bar codes, page segments, images and overlays can be specified in any order and at any position on the page. AFP operates independent of other applications and devices.
AFP is a published standard in the print industry that is used for printing data at very high speeds with complete integrity. It also incorporates various other industry formats such as EPS, PDF, TIFF, GIF, JPEG, XML, XSL, PostScript, PCL and PPML. As such, this standard is able to cover the entire range of text, image text, image, graphics, process color, highlight color and monochrome printing. It is also able to print on a standard printing device and deliver the contents using email, HTML, fax or screen.
AFP is considered to be the base of electronic document management applications, including enterprise report management, print and view, and archive and retrieval.
Users make use of AFP to control formatting and to obtain the desired form of paper output. It is also extensively used in large enterprises for production variable data printing. AFP prints room operators to distribute print jobs among a group of printers and designate backup printers upon failure of an existing one.
The page elements in AFP such as text, bar codes, page segments, images and overlays can be specified in any order and at any position on the page, which is referred to as all-point addressability. Printer-independent data streams that compose full pages within documents are called advanced-function presentation data streams. The majority of page elements that can be used along with AFP are objects termed as resources.
The AFP resource objects hold data and control information. This information is shared by different pages within spooled files. Resources are generally stored and accessed from the OS. Data streams can also share the same resource by referring to names of stored resources.
The sub-architectures within AFP architecture are: