Quadrant Bolsters OS/400 Forms Design Software
August 23, 2005 Alex Woodie
Listed separately, the new features that Quadrant Software added to its Formtastic document management software aren’t earth-shattering. But taken as a whole, the additional items and enhancements, including advanced query options, generation of RFID tags, generation of searchable PDF files, new image manipulation capabilities, and enhancements to its Formatter spool file preprocessor, point to Formtastic version 5.3.1 being a solid new release.
Quadrant Software is best known for its FastFax line of fax solutions for the OS/400 server. But the Taunton, Massachusetts, company also offers an array of electronic document management solutions, including a Windows-based design tool, an e-mail distribution module, connectors to FastFax servers and third-party archival systems, and a variety of “form packs” for the industry’s most popular ERP packages. Collectively, these solutions go by the name Formtastic Fusion5.
OS/400 shops gain new access to database files with the new query capabilities in Formtastic 5.3.1. This accessibility, which is delivered via the new advanced query function, allows users to retrieve data elements from a database file and add it to an electronic form during the design process. The capability to create forms with data residing outside the spool file increases the flexibility of the forms design process, Quadrant says.
Another added feature, called the “expression builder,” complements the new query functionality by making it easier to use information from database files. The expression builder helps by translating conditions into acceptable formats. For example, a spool file may list a social security number as 123-45-6789, a format that is not accepted by database files. The expression builder can automatically convert that number to 123456789, which will be accepted by database files, Quadrant says.
Advanced query capabilities have also been added to Formatter, a module of the Formtastic suite that reduces document page counts by 50 to 75 percent. Quadrant says the advanced query functions in Formatter allow the creation of conditioning statements from spool files and database files, helping trim document page counts even further and open up many new and useful conditioning options.
OS/400 shops faced with radio frequency identification (RFID) requirements will now be able to encode RFID labels with data from their iSeries systems using Formtastic and an RFID-compatible printer. Formtastic also generates barcode labels and other types of forms.
Formtastic 5.3.1 can also generate PDF documents with searchable text and full-color formatting. Previously, PDFs generated by Formtastic were basically images that could not be searched. Other document formats outputted by Formtastic include PCL and TIF.
Finally, the new release of Formtastic brings new image-manipulation capabilities that allow users to fine-tune the appearance of their new documents during the design process. Users can now resize images (including monochrome, color, and signature images) after they have been placed on a form template. This allows the user to exercise more control over form elements without having to access other graphics applications, Quadrant says.
Formtastic 5.3.1 is available now. For more information, visit www.quadrantsoftware.com.