For the average computer user an Advanced Function Printing (AFP) file may not mean a great deal, but people with a deeper understanding of IT will know the significance of such documents.
Despite the phenomenal speed in which technology tends to becomes obsolete in modern society, AFP is still in use today; as its original benefits are still valuable to today’s generation of IT experts in certain sectors.
However, the nature of market is that businesses and consumers require choice, prompting the appearance of firms offering AFP conversion. This allows files to be transformed into other formats such as PDF, HTML, Text and PostScript.
The AFP format of presentation architecture was originally developed by technology giant IBM in the 1980s to drive its printers. IT experts were able to create these files to have an indexed record of exactly what had been produced.
What sets the file type apart from others is its size; it is extremely compact and allows for documents to be defined using a very small amount of memory. This was particularly important during its early days when storage was limited, but is still relevant today.
An AFP document is similar to a PDF – a file format that is commonly used by businesses and consumers alike – but differs in that its internal structure is documented. This binary format is also useful because it can create output anywhere on a page, rather than being restricted to specific character positions.
On a base level, AFPs are recorded in three parts: a hex character known as a 5A, two bytes of record length and a triplet at the end allowing for identification.
Because of its ability to record large quantities of information in a small space, AFP files are commonly used by organisations that must constantly deal with a lot of information. Some examples include banks and telecommunication firms. In organisations such as these, transactions and individual operations accumulate at a staggering pace.
Considering the amount of data produced by modern firms – from payroll information and financial figures to the many thousands of performance updates – AFP looks set to be around for a long time yet