DocPath Chooses Java for Rewrite of Document Management Tool
April 2, 2013 Alex Woodie
DocPath last week unveiled a new release of its document management software that has been rewritten in Java. DocPath CEO Julio Olivares says the Java rewrite not only boosts performance, but allows the software to run equally well in IBM i, Windows, Linux, and Unix environments. While the technological core of the new DocPath server runs on Java, the company chose Microsoft .NET for the new document designer.
DocPath sells two lines of product, one for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) and another for enterprises. The SMB offerings are traditional document management products that allow companies to generate professional-looking forms and documents by merging their business output with pre-designed templates, while the enterprise tools focus on high-volume printing and Web-based generation, storage, and retrieval of documents.
Both major product lines have been refreshed with what DocPath calls its “Ipanema technology,” after the beach in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, made famous by the 1962 song about a beautiful girl. Instead of using a number to designate the new releases, DocPath labels them “Areca,” which is a type of palm tree. (It’s not difficult to see where DocPath developers take their vacations.)
The Ipanema technology in the Areca release refers to both the new Java server environment and the new .NET design environment. Olivares tells IT Jungle that the shift to Java will greatly simplify DocPath’s development efforts, by enabling a single development effort to simultaneously target all supported platforms–IBM i, Unix, Linux, and Windows.
Olivares realizes that “Java” was once a dirty word in IBM i environments, but says that times have changed. “For years we heard about the negative impact on performance that a Java based development could have,” he says via email. “I must admit that I was one of the guys that did not believe in Java. Now I am a champion of it!”
The reason for Olivares’ enthusiasm for Java is simple: performance. “The performance of this new technology is several times faster than a ‘C’-based code, as we had before,” he says. “Using Java, we have also gotten away from porting the code to the eight platforms that we support, and that makes the development cycle shorter and less expensive.”
When running on IBM i, DocPath will utilize the existing “native” interface to grab the spool file output, Olivares says. “The Series i solution will still use the current interface that is written in RPG and CL,” he says.
While native RPG and CL are used to grab the spool files and Java is used to merge that output with templates at run-time, the templates will be designed in a Windows .NET environment. DocPath selected .NET because “Windows provides an unparalleled capability of graphics presentation and handling,” Olivares says.
DocPath supports IBM i with two main products: the Business Suite, and the Boulder Suite.
The Business Suite is available in three editions, including Essential, Pro, and Industrial. DocPath supports IBM i with the Pro and Industrial editions. Essential only runs on Windows, can only output in PCL, and doesn’t support email and fax output. The Pro edition adds support for GDI, PDF, and PostScript output; support for IBM i, Linux, and Unix (in addition to Windows); and includes the email and fax capabilities. The Industrial edition adds support for line-matrix printers; the others are intended to be used with laser printers.
While DocPath supports IBM i with Business Suite, the company is specifically targeting IBM i customers with its Boulder Suite. What sets the Boulder Suite apart is the capability to read AFP (Advanced Function Presentation). AFP, of course, is used with the InfoPrint Designer product line that IBM introduced to its IBM i customers over a decade ago. DocPath is actively targeting InfoPrint customers, who Olivares says are not happy with the lack of new functionality delivered by IBM.
DocPath is also actively seeking disaffected JetForm customers for migration to its suite. JetForm was once a promising document management software vendor, but thanks to a series of acquisitions, it languished under Adobe, which years ago ended development of JetForm and dropped support for IBM i in its follow-on document and forms management software, called LiveCycle.
Olivares founded DocPath in 1992. The company is based in Madrid, Spain, and has a US office in Atlanta, Georgia, as the result of its 2008 acquisition of IBM i document management software developer Resolutions. The company says it has more than 50,000 installations around the world. For more information, see www.docpath.com.