IPP Frequently Asked Questions

IPP Everywhere Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Internet Printing Protocol?

The Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) is a collection of open standards that define a high-level network printing protocol. IPP allows computers and mobile devices to query printer capabilities, monitor printer status and other state changes, do printer configuration, and submit, monitor, and control print jobs.

IPP supports security features such as encryption and authentication, performance features such as streaming and compression, managed printing features such as PIN printing, quotas, and paid printing, ICC color management in printing, and printing features such as 2-sided (duplex) printing, stapling, folding, punching, binding, and booklet printing.

IPP supports any kind of print data including high-level document formats such as PDF and OpenXPS, basic raster formats such as JPEG and PWG Raster, and low-level formats such as PCL and ESC/P.

What is the history of the IPP workgroup?

In the summer of 1996, Novell approached a number of companies to find out if they were interested to participate in a printing protocol project for the Internet. Xerox and others expressed some interest and suggested that the first step would be to develop a draft text and decide how to initiate the project. As result, a first draft document was developed in cooperation between Novell and Xerox. At this stage, the project was known as Lightweight Document Printing Application (LDPA). In a parallel effort, IBM had started working on a proposal for Internet printing using Web technology, under the name of HyperText Printing Protocol (HTPP). It was also known that Microsoft and HP had started work on a solutions for a new generation of print services for NT 5.0.

In parallel to the writing of initial draft texts, it was investigated how to start up the public standardization project. It was clear from the beginning that the initiators wanted the project to become an acknowledged project with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), but first needed to get together a forum of experts before suggesting it to the IETF. The choice was to start the activity in the Printer Working Group (PWG), a group of people with representation from printer and print server vendors, which had previously developed the IETF Printer MIB specification. After initial discussions in a couple of earlier meetings, the PWG started the IPP project in November 1996. Carl-Uno Manros from Xerox was chosen as the project chair and Scott Isaacson from Novell as the main editor. Steve Zilles from Adobe was later added as the IETF co-chair, and Don Wright from Lexmark, Bob Herriot from Sun and Roger deBry from IBM as further editors. After some discussion, it was decided to pool the earlier efforts from Novell/Xerox and IBM into what is now named the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) project. Some 20 companies involved with printers and/or print servers confirmed that they were interested in participating. After negotiation with the Application Area Directors in the IETF, it was decided to hold a birds-of-a-feather (BOF) session for IPP in the December 1996 meeting of the IETF. The outcome of that meeting confirmed that there was widespread interest in developing a printing protocol for the Internet.

The IPP/1.0 specifications were published by the IETF as experimental documents in April 1999. IPP/1.1 appeared as a proposed standard in September 2000, with extensions being published through Match 2005 until the IETF IPP working group was concluded. IPP work continues in the Printer Working Group, with the first edition of IPP/2.0 published as a candidate standard in July 2009, a second edition of IPP/2.0 in February 2011, and most recently the IPP Everywhere standard in January 2013.

What is the current status in the IETF?

The IETF IPP working group work is concluded. All ongoing work happens in the Printer Working Group.

What is the scope of the IPP workgroup?

The goal of the IPP workgroup is to develop new specifications for existing and new printer functionality.

What is the Document Printing Application (DPA)?

DPA is an ISO standard for printing (ISO/IEC 10175) that was worked on for a number of years and was finally published in 1996. DPA has a lot of printing functionality defined, probably more than anybody will ever implement in a product. Even if DPA can be seen as a bit of an overkill, it does provide a lot of useful input to any project that works on printing. Several experts in the IPP project were active in the specification of DPA and can leverage experience from that project. Semantically, IPP can be seen as lightweight version of the functionality covered in DPA with some new features thrown in, but the syntax and protocol stack are different in the Internet environment.

How can I get involved in the IPP project?

You can get information on this web site and participate over the Internet by joining the IPP discussion list. In addition, the PWG organizes face-to-face meetings four times a year and holds bi-weekly telephone conference calls. Announcements about these are given over the IPP discussion list. If you are new to the workgroup, the best starting point is our workgroup page, which contain pointers to everything else you need to know about the workgroup.