New Guest Blogger: Franck Ollivier from Active Publishing on Web-to-Print

Franck Ollivier is the founder of Active Publishing, a France based web-to-print organization that is made available to various businesses from self-employed single users to big organizations.  Throughout his life, he was fascinated by computers and had the opportunity to hold several positions including graphic designer, server and networks administrator, developer, and IT manager.  This gave him the opportunity to learn many different fields and gave him the skills and knowledge necessary to start his own company. He has extensive knowledge of the PIM market, constraints, difficulties, and time consuming manipulation related to Print production.

Please tell us a little bit about your company, Active Publishing, and its main business objectives…
Working in automatic layout for over 10 years, I founded Active Publishing in 2014 to provide a complete solution for the Print but accessible to all, the self-employed to big business.  Our tools are as effective as possible and we produce catalogs for our customers who don't have a graphics department, which enables us to optimize our solution and see the missing features.  Our business model revolves around two main functions: 1) Services around Pimcore 2) Our plug-ins (installation, configuration, development, training) and Print production.  We have a very simple organizational structure with myself, two developers, and two graphic designers.  We assist our customers throughout the entire production chain.

What lead you to first start using Pimcore?
I needed to get a solution that was quick, operational, and user-friendly.  I looked for a powerful open-source PIM and with Pimcore’s strong reputation in the market, they were an obvious choice.
Its MVC architecture, using JS, images management, an existing community, the opinions, views and comparative tests are all very powerful features that strongly helped me with my work.  After testing a few other solutions, I chose it without hesitation.

What features or functionalities in Pimcore make our product stand out from other solutions in the market?

  • Image management (with imagick) including the possibility of using tif format
  • Linked objects (for management accessories, product linked, etc ...) and the possibility of multiple trees for an object
  • Fields collections (for the management of characteristics product)

How did using Pimcore enable you to build a superior web-to-print solution?

Many features needed for web-to-print are natively present in Pimcore:

  • The possibility of using the tif format
  • The environment JS / PHP / MySQL
  • Multilingual (especially in the v4), versioning
  • How the data is structured in the database

Did you try any other solutions before using Pimcore and if so what were the main problems with them?
Of course, I've tested the maximum of solutions, open-source or otherwise, but in open-source solutions none of them had the features offered by Pimcore. The commercial solutions were weighing down the final cost of the solution or had been developed in non-standard languages.  The only solution in terms of functionality that could compete with Pimcore just a little bit is Akénéo.  However, Pimcore has been around much longer, has much more experience, and a very responsive community.

What is your Pimcore based product all about?

Our Pimcore project is very complex and very detailed.

  • Active WireFrame: Create a catalog, with management of chapters and page templates, then deposit products in the pages, move and / or resize, before generating them automatically in InDesign by retrieving the coordinates and sizes of each product.
  • Active Paginate: Automatic placement of products in pages from a tree level or directory. Management of multi-column, page break at change with placement of a template class, for example.
  • Active Web-To-Print: identical features to Active wireframe more customizing blocks that make up a product (size, position) and HD CMYK PDF export with markers
  • Active BAT: BAT Production Tracking from PDF file. Upload a PDF of several pages, the plugin created a document in pdf pimcore and places each page in the pages of the document. Make and confirm your requests for corrections, attach a condition to your pages and notify all users in 2 clicks.
  • Active Workflow: Validation system, single or multiple, objects and documents. validators configuration in the extension.
  • Active Notify: Notification System (objects, documents) for notes and pages statements (documents) for one or more users simultaneously.
  • Active File Advanced: Image Control System registered in Pimcore. Configuration in the extension, control colorimetry, resolution, extension.
  • Active FlipBook: Generation Plugin flipbook from a PDF file. Offers an archive or a link to the flipbook stored in Pimcore.
  • We are working currently on a new plugin that will allow a custom order management objects.

To learn more about Franck's exciting work, please take a look at this video.

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