FOCUS on Printing

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With all the attention on the Internet these days, it’s easy to forget about printing. After all, the real excitement is with Java and the visual languages doing interactive programming for the Web. Who cares about printing? That’s yesterday’s news, right? If you believe that, try forgetting to print your employees’ paychecks just once and see what happens! Printing is as important to business today as it was 20 years ago.

From inventory reports to invoices, from profit-and-loss statements to barcoded shipping labels, business requires printed output. This means that you, as an IS manager or AS/400 programmer, need to be aware of changes and enhancements in the world of AS/400 printing. As technologies such as the new AS/400 NetServer emerge, we all need to keep abreast of the changing dynamics of printing techniques and printer solutions. With that in mind, this month’s Focus articles take a look at printing. Our authors have given us a wide variety of information on many different printing topics, ranging from a look at the new features of AS/400 NetServer printing for V4R4 to a utility that allows you to find out who’s been deleting spooled files they don’t own.

Bridget Meyer takes a look at the Version 4, Release 4 changes to AS/400 NetServer printing. The AS/400 NetServer is IBM’s means of allowing you to more perfectly marry your AS/400 and Windows 9x environments. NetServer, a free part of OS/400 in V4R2 and later versions, will make your client/server connectivity issues easier to control by using standard Windows 9x architecture to communicate with the host. Now, you no longer need to have Client Access/400 or any other connectivity software installed on the client to access data on your AS/400. Using basic features that come as a standard part of Windows 9x, you can easily access your DB2/400 data and reports via the AS/400 Netserver, making your connectivity and printing solutions easier than ever before! In the coming months, you’re going to be hearing a lot more about NetServer on these pages because NetServer is destined to change the way IT professionals do business. Bridget’s article is a great place to begin the learning process.

Bradley V. Stone gives us an article this month on using Workstation Customization Objects (WCOs). In it, Brad tells us how to use WCOs to fill in the gaps in TCP/IP Line Printer Daemon/Line Printer Requester (LPD/LPR) printing. As a complement to Brad’s piece, be sure to read Joe Hertvik’s sidebar, “Hey! Workstation Customization Objects Work with PC5250, Too!” in which he explains how to set up and use WCOs with Client Access/400 PC5250.

If you’re in the market for a printer and want to know what today’s latest and greatest hardware solutions are, read Timothy Prickett Morgan’s article “Hard Copy Is Far from Obsolete in an E-business World.” In it, Tim takes a look at a variety of the new printing hardware solutions available from different vendors. Tim’s analysis provides you with the starting point you need to make intelligent purchasing decisions.

AS/400 professionals who are using Client Access/400 for their printing software solution won’t want to miss Becky Schmieding and Joe Hertvik’s article, “The Basics of PC5250 Printer Emulation.” If you thought that starting a PC5250 print session was no more complex than creating a PC5250 printer configuration, think again! Becky and Joe explain the various types of printer emulation and tell you when you should use each one. This article is a must-read for anyone using Client Access/400 and PC5250.

Finally, my article, “Who’s Been Messing with My Spooled Files?” provides you with a utility you can use to track the life of a spooled file. Using this utility, you can find out who is doing what to your printed output. If you’ve had a problem with users deleting spooled files they don’t own or reading reports that don’t belong to them, this utility will help you find out what’s going on.

From the IS manager to the AS/400 programmer, this month’s Focus section has a little bit of something for everyone!