Using the IBM i as a print server has many advantages, not least that the control of printing remains within the IBM i, which provides a secure and reliable environment for ensuring all documents are printed. Print files can be easily redirected to any printer attached to the IBM i.
Until the introduction of the IBM i's AFP (Advanced Function Printing) was the most efficient way of printing documents, which included fancy fonts and form overlays. AFP required additional software (PSF/400) in the IBM i and special AFP capable printers to print the documents.
With the introduction of the IBM i's HPT (Host Print Transform) can replace AFP for network printing in all but the high volume, or specialist printing applications. Host Print Transform is included as part of the IBM i Operating System and allows documents to be printed on any Laser Printer (PCL compatible) connected to the IBM i via the network.
The printer is configured on the IBM i with an IP address and connected to the network using an interface such as HP Jet Direct. Note: HP printer interfaces work with the IBM i (HP wrote the interface). Of the other manufacturers only the Intel NetportExpress(TM) Print Servers with Version: 5.31 of the software are known to work with the IBM i.
Cobwebb Print allows the same document to be printed using HPT, AFP and Fax/Email, even though the printers may treat features such as the 'No Print Border' differently.
Using Host Print Transform (or AFP) allows your IBM i documents to be printed, using the appropriate forms overlay and fonts, on plain A4 paper.
Cobwebb Print supports plain text (SCS) printing so that it is possible to rearrange the spooled output and print to continuous stationery on an IBM i line printer.
Cobwebb Print allows you to choose (and change) the IBM i printer format which suits you best (SCS, HPT or AFP), or to specify FAX or EML (email) as the output.
For the technically minded Cobwebb Print replaces the need for the IBM 'AFP Utilities' and works with text spooled files. If overlays, fonts or other AFP resources are required, Cobwebb Print adds them from within it's own files.
Colour Printing with Cobwebb Print
Cobwebb Print is capable of producing colour output if you are printing to a:
•HPT printer and have IBM V7R1 or V7R2 with the latest PTFs
•AFP FS45 capable printer - requires IBM Print Services Facility (PSF)
Note: When designing your PPD you will need to make sure that you set the correct Image Format for the type of output you require.
JPEG uses Lossy Compression which is good for Photos, Shading, Drawings etc. This format can be selected if you wish to use a Colour image for either PDF Email or PDF File output. Note This is the format that must be used when using PDF Datastream for colour images.
TIFF(LZW) uses Lossless Compression which is good for Lines, Blocks etc. This format can be selected if you wish to use a Colour image for PDF Email or PDF File output. Note: This format is not compatible with PDF Datastream for colour images. Requires SPLAMATIC V2R3M0 or higher.
To get the best results from Cobwebb Print, consideration should be given to the printing environment. Factors such as:
What printers are currently installed *SCS, *AFP or Network Printers? How are the printers attached to the IBM i? What level of IBM i operating system are you using?
Some of the important questions are: -
•Do you want to print on pre-printed stationery?
•If you want to print on plain paper do you want to print overlays and fancy fonts?
•Is the printer dedicated to one type of printout, or is it a general-purpose printer?
•Is printing speed important?
•Are you printing one document at a time or does the spooled file contain many documents?
•Do you need to distribute the printouts to several printers?
•Is your printer directly attached to the IBM i or via a network?
•Do you want to print in colour?