Spool Wizard Simplifies E-Forms Generation

As AS/400 shops move to ERP packages, they are finding that the forms generated by these systems leave something to be desired.

That's why many are turning to third-party solutions, such as JetForm's Central product line, to deliver more attractive-looking customized e-forms. However, such added robustness also means new configuration issues--even simply adding logos, signatures and other elements on more complex e-forms often requires technical expertise.

Now, a new tool on the market steps in and manages this complexity. Enterprise Resolutions Inc. (Duluth, Ga.), an e-form software developer and distributor to JetForm Inc., recently unveiled Spool Wizard 400, which integrates electronic forms with AS/400 spooled files more efficiently than JetForm Central alone.

End-users no longer have to get involved with application program changes and complex scripting languages, says Bonnie Malmstrom, VP of marketing for Enterprise Resolutions.

Spool Wizard is a GUI front-end tool that runs on top of JetForm Central. JetForm Central's platform diversity and open architecture essentially make it a programmers toolkit, rather than an end-user software package, according to Malmstrom. Spool Wizard is designed to give end-users the capability of changing features on reports without waiting for programming help.

"It enables users to incorporate data into JetForm design tools," Malmstrom says. "It knows what form to go get, and what printers to download to. [The tool] can look at spool data, change it around, and add conditions, such as sorting all companies with more than 5,000 employees, or companies that start with the letter 'J'."

This tool can replace JFTrans (JetForm Central's transformation agent), which converts files into database files compatible with JFMerge, a program that produces final printable output. Resolution claims its tool converts these files 25 percent faster than JFTrans.

This software is designed to enable users to use the menu to set up data-driven dynamic logic to print logos, signatures, barcodes and add text messages. Spool Wizard allows users to employ "intelligent pagination," perform calculations, change fonts and colors on the fly, distribute forms, condition logos, signatures, data, and print more than 25 bar codes. The form can be consolidated into one menu on the AS/400. All forms, images, signatures and fonts can be resident on the AS/400 or stored on a PC.

At the county government offices of Washington County, Maryland, officials were seeking a way to quickly generate invoices, purchase orders and AP checks from its J.D. Edwards financial applications. "We needed to extract data from our J.D. Edwards databases, based on data in our spool file," says Edison Vizuete, financial systems analyst for the county government. The organization had recently installed JetForm Central on its AS/400, and JetForm recommended Spool Wizard as a way to quickly develop a customized solution, Vizuete says. The county is now planning to automate the production client statements, payroll checks and customized reports.

Enterprise Resolutions claims Spool Wizard will work with all AS/400 applications, along with JetForm version 5.x. Features include a calculation wizard that can add, subtract and multiply sector data in spool files, a concatenation wizard to connect separate fields, and a database lookup feature.