During the course of the survey, several vendors submitted comments based on their experiences with their customers.
Linda McDaniel EDP, training manager for Xenos (www.xenos.com ) said that "most of our customers are using ACIF to bundle resources for archiving, or for viewing via the AFP viewer or browser plug-in", which is consistent with the survey results.
Al Cooper, senior output consultant for COPI (www.888999copi.com ) said that "(i)n my experience, the most popular reason for using ACIF is so the files can be used with the plug in AFP Viewer."
Al then adds, "In many cases, the ACIF job is run after the print files are sent as normal line or mixed mode data to PSF for printing, but some prefer to save only a single file in their GDGs (generation data sets), so they will run the file through ACIF then send one copy of the file to the JES queue for printing and another to their archive system for archive and later retrieval for viewing. In either of these cases, the ACIF job not only generates the file with the AFP Resources attached, but it also generates Tag records for indexing."
While Al says that he has seen a number of cases where ACIF is used to convert line data and mixed mode data to fully-composed AFP for use in software products that support only fully-composed AFP, he believes "that most viable (requirement) is the one that bills and other legal documents must be able to be reproduced exactly as they were originally printed in the event of a legal situation."
Howard Turetzky of IBM (www.ibm.com ) says, "From my vantage point, by far the number one use of ACIF is for converting line data to MO:DCA, but since it's not really visible (it's used for all the line data conversions in Infoprint Manager) many people don't think of it for this purpose."
The survey bears out his next statement: "The other two principal uses are about evenly divided. Remote print, service bureaus, conversion, archive and similar uses need the resources. Archive, tracking and display additionally use indexing. Again, it's buried in some other IBM products (Content Manager OnDemand, RMDS for OS/390, Workflow, iSeries as a part of the OS) and pre-req'd by some non-IBM products, so again it's not always very visible."
Finally, because Howard knows his users, he wryly adds, "There are, of course, any number of idiosyncratic uses people have devised. "