Praim E-Manages E-Forms

With the introduction of DocSuite, Praim Inc. has designed an electronic management solution for AS/400 and System/3x users without the usual burdens of implementing system modifications or additional desktop components.

DocSuite integrates electronic forms in traditional corporate environments as transparently to the host, the applications and the network infrastructure as possible, says Yves Blanchette, VP of marketing for Praim (Portsmouth, N.H.). The key to DocSuite's efficiency is the need for only host data to be sent across a network. This reduces network traffic while still providing support for unformatted and variable length data.

DocSuite consists of both software and hardware components. The Forms Control Manager (FCM) is a 32-bit Windows-based tool designed to map host data on a form previously created by such desktop applications as Microsoft Word or Adobe PageMaker. The FCM is the software component that contains a set of table management functions designed to allow unformatted and variable length data to be processed.

"FCM incorporates a PCL viewer that allows the user to view the form in a Window and preview host print out put in another Window," Blanchette says. "The selection of host data, the conditions, its formatting, etc. on the electronic form is kept in a script file produced by FCM and downloaded to the DMM [Document Management Module]."

The resulting electronic form and formatting instructions are then distributed and stored in DocSuite's second component, the DMM. The DMM is an interface and storage device that plugs directly into any PCL5 printer and accepts input from host applications through a Parallel, Coax, Twinax, Ethernet or Token Ring connection. The device monitors the host data stream, intercepts the data and merges it to the resident form according to the pre-defined set of formatting instructions.

DocSuite is designed to protect enterprise investments through its flexibility, explains Blanchette. Forms and script files do not need to change, even when an enterprise shifts its method of connectivity, such as from Twinax to Ethernet.

The FCM is currently available and priced at $6,500. Praim is offering special pricing for the software through Dec. 31, 1998 that lowers the FCM's cost to $3,995. The DMM ranges in price from $699 to $1,099 - depending upon whether the device comes equipped with a Twinax or Token Ring interface. All units come with a standard 2 MB of memory, with additional memory expansion up to 8 MB.