New Tool Enables Printing Anywhere, Anytime

The days of loading preprinted forms into printers are rapidly disappearing, thanks to new forms software coming into the AS/400 market. One such solution, BOSaNOVA PrintBoss from Better On-Line Solutions (BOS, Scottsdale, Ariz.), enables end users to match forms with data coming out of the AS/400, and send the job to any printer on the network. A new version of PrintBoss, scheduled for release in this quarter, includes a scripting module for designing and routing documents, and APIs to other applications, says Ruth Bridger, marketing manager for BOS. The latest release also includes check printing support.

PrintBoss will direct documents to any destination from a single spool file, including support for design variations based on specified destination, according to Bridger. "The target printer becomes a virtual printer that grabs the spool file and puts it in the print queue," she explains. The software also includes a Windows metafile driver that sends EMF files to PrintBoss clients over the network, or via an AS/400 as a printer emulation. It enables PrintBoss to send designed printouts to printer, regardless of manufacturer or model. The latest version also includes improved administration, using the "tree-view" metaphor, of document routing, groups, users, print destinations and templates, and e-mail support, allowing formatted print jobs to be sent as attachments to e-mail messages. Print files can originate from AS/400 or System/3x hosts, Unix machines, Windows 95/98/NT applications and DOS. In addition, formatted documents can be automatically routed to WinFax Pro and ZetaFax.

BOS also has begun shipping an enhanced version of its Jadvantage browser-based 5250 emulator, which no longer requires third-party printing software. Instead, printing is supported through the vendor's BOSaNOVA SCS printing emulation. The first print session requested by the user activates the download and installation of the printing plug-in. This new printing approach allows support for a wide range of applications and drivers, for dot matrix printers, and for print preview. There is also no longer a need to tamper with formatting, says Bridger. Since print jobs arrive directly from the host with full CPI/LPI in the correct format, "Printing on preprinted forms is no longer a hit-or-miss operation."

Jadvantage enables end users to print out documents from an AS/400 directly from their Internet browser. With SCS printing, the AS/400 print queue is associated with the browser user's profile--upon logging on, his printer is automatically associated with his display device. Jadvantage also now supports the SSL protocol, as well as digital certificates.

At the recent Common users' conference, BOS demonstrated a security server that supports the sending and receiving of e-mail over dumb terminals. The solution--as of yet unnamed--will work with all messaging formats, including Lotus Domino/Notes and Microsoft Exchange/Outlook, according to Sergey Olshvang, product developer for BOS. All messages are routed through the security server, which can be installed on an AS/400 or a PC. The product is scheduled for general availability in the first quarter of 2000.