S4i Expands File Support in Document Management Software
June 19, 2007 Alex Woodie
S4i Systems has added support for standard PC file types with version 3.1 of S4i Express, its i5/OS document management system for System i servers. With the change, S4i Express users can now store and serve Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF documents, in addition to standard i5/OS output, making the product more useful to modern IT shops. Other features added with the new release include control over PDF security options and support for priority printing and distribution.
One of the hallmarks of the System i platform is its support for open standards. If System i servers could only run programs and work with data that was stored in the EBCDIC format, the platform would probably have died a long time ago. But thanks to the built-in Integrated File System (IFS), the System i can store and serve all kinds of ASCI file types, making the server much more useful than its proprietary predecessors.
Now S4i Systems is leveraging the IFS to improve the capabilities of its i5/OS document management system, S4i Express. This product is designed to monitor System i print queues, process the output using report-segmenting or -bundling rules, convert it into PostScript, PDF, HTML, RTF, CSV, or plain text format, and then distribute it electronically (via e-mail, fax, FTP, or the Web), or print or archive it for safe keeping.
With S4i Express version 3.1, the product can now capture, store, and process files stored on the IFS in binary file types, as opposed to just converting EBCDIC content into ASCI file types for easier distribution, which was the extent of S4i Express’ support for binary file types in previous releases.
S4i Express users can now do many of the things they did with standard i5/OS output binary files, such as photos, audio, spreadsheets, or word processing documents. Users can open binary files with the associated application, or even view the files online in their native format using S4i WebView, a companion product to S4i Express.
Other new features in version 3.1 include the capability to define priority levels for S4i job processing. The company says this enhancement will be useful when important jobs, such as invoices or paychecks, need to be processed before other, lower-priority jobs.
Users also gain the capability to set security parameters for the PDF output of S4i Express. This enables users to activate password protection for PDF documents, in addition to restricting the ability of users to copy, modify, or annotate the documents. This release also supports direct PDF capture.
Version 3.1 brings other features including: the capability to designate paper-drawer selection; improvements to the report wizard; improvements to the fax distribution option; new fax distribution features; and several new e-mail options, including support for return receipt, maximum size threshold, ad hoc e-mail notes, and the capability to send multiple document attachments with a single e-mail.