Brooks Launches ExcelliPrint for IPDS Conversion
by Alex Woodie
Brooks Internet Software has developed a new software product that enables regular Windows printers to replace IPDS printers in OS/400 and mainframe environments. By converting IPDS print datastreams into PDF or PCL format, ExcelliPrint enables less expensive Windows printers to stand in for their pricier IPDS printing brethren, while simultaneously preserving the advantages of IBM's AFP architecture, such as support for graphics, barcodes, and bidirectional communication, the company says.
ExcelliPrint works by emulating a high-end IPDS printer. The software runs as a Windows service on a Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003 PC, and continuously monitors multiple iSeries or zSeries ports for print jobs sent over the LAN or WAN.
When ExcelliPrint intercepts a print job, the user has the ability to hold or release the IPDS spool file to iSeries print devices, from ExcelliPrint's browser-based interface. This interface, which is protected with role-based access and SSL encryption, also gives users the ability to create new iSeries print devices or to redirect existing devices. Users have the option of converting the IPDS output to one of several protocols, including PCL, PDF, PNG, EMF, JPEG, and TIFF. Monochrome and color jobs are supported.
AS/400 and mainframe IPDS users can rest assured that ExcelliPrint supports all towers of the IPDS stack, including text, IM image, IO image, graphics, fonts, and barcode (Barcode) towers, says the printer utility developer from Idaho Falls, Idaho. "We've combined our in-depth printing knowledge with our understanding of the IPDS print community's needs, and produced ExcelliPrint," says Dave Brooks, president of the company.
In addition to reducing user dependence on expensive IPDS printers from IBM--which can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars--ExcelliPrint's AFP-to-PDF conversion capability enables users to enter the world of electronic documents. The product's browser-based interface gives users the option of printing the job or storing it to disk, where users can then distribute it via e-mail, FTP, or the Web, or archive it to tape or optical media. PDF documents created by ExcelliPrint are full-text-searchable, Brooks says.
Brooks' IPDS emulator compares well with other IPDS emulators on the market. Brooks' product is less expensive, doesn't impose any price increases when used on fast printers, and is able to support two output devices, which means users are able to replace two physical IPDS printers with a single ExcelliPrint license. However, Brooks' ExcelliPrint is limited in its output support, as other IPDS emulators also support PostScript (although PostScript printers are less prevalent than PCL printers), and it only runs on Windows servers, while other IPDS solutions will also run on Unix, Linux, and Novell NetWare operating systems.
Brooks charges commercial operations $795 for an IntelliPrint license, and $695 for governmental operations. Volume discounts are available for commercial licenses. Free trials and downloads are available on the company's Web site: www.brooksnet.com.