View Full Version : Forms generation tools
01-01-1995, 02:00 AM
I am looking for software to generate forms on the AS/400, I want to create invoices, packing slips, credit memos etc. I will want to use some graphics like logos, shading etc. Anybody have any recommendations? Thanks, Greg
09-13-2000, 08:47 AM
We use a forms program created by Optio. They used to be Xpoint. The tool is pretty solid, though the layout feature on the AS/400 is pretty cubersome. They do have a forms designer tool on the PC that is point and click. The product is fairly easy to integrate with RPG and has some useful features for monitoring OUTQS and working with Logos and graphics.
09-13-2000, 09:13 AM
Hi, We were hit with a task of converting mainframe AFP forms to AS400 forms...Having no knowledge of AFP and trying it natively on the AS400 which was clugey... So we purchased a package call EZPRINT/400 and creating the forms was a snap on the AS400...We can now print special forms based on the spooled report or data base file and it will automatically merge, send the output to selected remote outq and will even roll a save copy to hold queue... It was very reasonable, easy to install and Tech support had us up and going in an hour or so....If you desire any details I can forward them on... The main company is ACOM Solutions now I believe...They used to Formual One...
09-13-2000, 10:38 AM
Are you saying that you have a remote database that can only be accessed by SQL and you need to hit it from the AS/400? If so, you are probably looking at having to purchase SQL for the AS/400 and embedding SQL calls into your RPG programs. IBM has a few products available to make the link possible to the remote database. Someone with more experience in this area can probably add to your question. Scott
09-13-2000, 10:40 AM
One option may be IBM's Datajoiner product. Dave
09-13-2000, 12:55 PM
We've had good success creating and using AFP overlays to replace all our pre-printed forms (invoices, bills of lading, acknowledgements, etc.) The simplest way to create them is to use IBM AFP printer driver (available at: http://www.printers.ibm.com/R5PSC.NSF/Web/afpdr ) to "print" them using any PC program (we use Word and Excel). You can use whatever shading, watermarks, graphics, etc. that you can use in the PC program. After uploading and creating the overlay, (directions included with driver) you just change the print file or use OVRPRTF to specify the front and back overlays.
09-13-2000, 01:33 PM
The Database I need to access is a SQL Server database on a WIN2K Server. I know there are plenty of tools and options to go from the WIN2K machine up to the AS/400, But i would like to be able to go the other way in a real-time environment. My RPG programs hitting the Windows database. I have been told that this is possible, although very difficult.
09-13-2000, 03:32 PM
Greg, I have been usint Create!Print from e4m Solutions (www.e4m.com) since 1989 and think it's a terrific product! At one of my former employers we had over 140 forms developed in it. We even spiffed up *STD. It has a number of features that make it easy to use and implement. - All of the form design is done on a PC using a drawing-like tool. - For about 95% of your forms you don't need to modify any programs on the AS/400. It remaps the output that is in the spool file so you can make any report look nice. - It uses Adobe Postscript (proabably already on most of your printers) which is considerably more powerful than PCL. Things like text rotation are just simple commands in Postscript. You don't have to get involved with knowing PS, it's all done behind the scenes. - It'll work with IP remote printers. - You can choose (or not) to load the forms onto the printer ahead of time, thus you only send the text of the report to the printer when print the form. This is especially nice if your printe is across the country on a relatively slow link. The forms will stay in the printer until it's powered off. Even if you Re-IPL the AS/400! You can also keep them at the printer permanantly if you install a hard disk into your printer. - If you have a color printer, you can print in color. Chuck
09-14-2000, 12:11 AM
You could try this one coming from Belgium :http://www.skillteam.com/skillteam/SKTWeb.ns4/all/Products_Map400_body_map400.h tml ,but the documentation exists only in french However, I think you could send an e-mail to Skillteam to receive english documentation Even if the software doesn't interest you, you will see a beautiful picture in : http://www.mapping400.com/ HTH
09-15-2000, 11:29 AM
Thanks everyone for the replies
09-15-2000, 11:35 AM
Thanks for the reply, I have been able to create overlay, (I have used the same technique to create segments). I works well so far. The problem I am having is that the logo's I am trying to pring look terrible, I seems that rather than being a solid color (black and white) they are full of white dots. Any Ideas on how to fix that, we are using word 2000 to create the document. Thanks, Greg
09-16-2000, 03:03 AM
Hi Greg, I have used both Optio and Create!print. They are both nice products. Optio is more 400 friendly, with the advantage of still being able to do the layout on the pc side. The pc side of the forms design works well and transferring signatures, logos, graphs, etc.... is pretty easy. We used Optio at the hospital I used to work at and had lots of med forms printed from it. There are some utilities and controls in it that make it pretty flexible. One question I would ask though, is are you planning to generate checks also. The check module is extra from Optio and last I knew it was expensive. Create!print had all the fonts built in it and I was able to generate checks from it with no problem. Have implemented laser checks in a couple of different places and the AP and Payroll folks love it, cause they can reprint so easy, instead of generating a new check when one has a problem. What we did to avoid buying the check software was get the micrfonts from a contractor and had him design us an overlay for o ur checks. Didn't wind up using the overlay, but did add the fonts to the as400 and then used Optio to generate the check layout, and used the micrfonts. Good Luck
09-17-2000, 08:33 PM
Hello Greg, Here's another option: We just released our new WinSpool/400 Electronic Forms software. It requires a PC, but allows you to print AS/400 forms to any Laser Printer or InkJet printer in B/W or Color. It also integrates with our Email Report Server, Web Report Server and Domino Report Server software for electronic distribution. You can have it up and running in 15-30 minutes. For more info or a demo CD, please contact me via email. Regards, Richard Schoen RJS Software Systems Inc. "The AS/400 Report and Data Delivery Experts" Email: email@example.com Web site: http://www.rjssoft.com
09-18-2000, 10:30 AM
Which DPI driver did you load? We originally used the default (240-DPI) and our shaded logo looked very blocky. Switching to the 600-DPI version dramatically improved the looks of the logo. However, it increased the size of the overlay to the point that some of our older printers could not handle it. We're now in the process of figuring out how the driver maps fonts so we can turn off "convert text to graphics" and shrink it down without losing the resolution.
10-02-2000, 10:59 AM
Greg, Each of the above mentioned programs are nice to use, but most are based on one thing. SPOOLED FILES. I was thrown into this sort of problem myself, but with an added twist. It had to be multi-platform compatable. I found a product that made things MUCH simpler to deal with without having to 'depend' on spooled files on the AS/400. It's called JETFORM (http://www.jetform.com). They have a way of populating forms by manipulating the DATA going into the form, not the mapping from a spool file. All logo formats (.bmp, .jpg, .tif etc.) are supported ans well as static and dynamic forms. I was very impressed with this product and it's capabilities as well as the direction of the company. They utilize this information in XML format as well so, it is VERY flexible. It is also transferrable across platforms, (AS/400, NT, Unix, HP, SUN, Solaris, etc) using the SAME form definition. I'll be glad to talk to you about it if you want (No, I'm not a salesman) but am really sold on this as a solution for the problems you face. It really made a difference adding this option to legacy coding with very little modifications.
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