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Validoc, THE software for graphical and PDF printouts on iSeries systems.

Validoc is a software for iSeries (AS/400) systems able to apply several graphical enhancements to the standard output by adding graphics, fonts and making a remapping of the print output. Validoc allows you to convert graphical print output into a PC format, such as PDF, TIFF, TXT and many more. It is possible to automatically manage the storage of the resulting files on a LAN and schedule their transmission through fax and e-mail.

It can be seamlessly integrated with your existing software without any modification, no matter if it is a simple accounting package or a full featured E.R.P., reducing thus set-up costs and streamlining your workflow.

Validoc has been entirely developed (and is fully supported) by “RECORD Informatica” and has an Italian user interface.
The software is actually split into two integrated sub-systems. The main one, which handles the printing spools, is installed on the iSeries machine; while the document transformation engine and the fax and mail engines work on any common PC.

System requirements
Validoc ensures full compliance with standard pc formats.
The mailing functions work with any standard SMTP mail server.
Fax functions require a standard asynchronous modem supporting fax functions.
As regards the PC side, it works on any Microsoft Windows version, while the document transformation engine, the fax and e-mail functions operate on Windows NT, Windows 2000 and XP.

The iSeries components can be installed on the software release V4R2M0 or later.

The print output can be handled by any laser printer supporting the PCL5 language, which is a de-facto standard for any printer built in recent years.

Lighweight
The iSeries components stay silent and idle while waiting for documents to be processed. This avoids the common problem of CPU overhead caused by pooling on the printing queues, as most competitors’ software do.
Easy
The user interface is designed to be both simple and effective so that a novice user can become proficient quickly and unleash the full power of the system without specific training.

Scalable
Validoc follows the growth of your company, with a license system modelled upon the IBM iSeries pricing system. Therefore each company will take advantage from the software at a price proportional to its size.

Modular
We always configure Validoc considering actual customer needs, evaluated individually. At any time it is possible to add further modules to the installed configuration.
The modules can enable functions such as spool processing, graphical enhancements, font formatting, file format conversion (to standard PC formats such as PDF or TIFF), automatic categorisation and filing of documents on the customer’s lan, mailing and faxing and data processing on Excel documents..

Safe
Data and images are processed on the iSeries, whose reliability is well known. It is possible to setup an authorisation system to grant or deny to specific users the right to open the produced documents. The documents saved on LAN folders before mailing or faxing are always zipped and password protected to avoid unauthorised opening of the files.

Validoc is developed by:
Record Informatica srl
Baluardo A. La Marmora, 2 – 28100 Novara (NO)
Tel. 0321611208 – Fax 0321684170
record@recordinformatica.it
Valodic: gestione spool di stampa su as400

Key advantages
VALIDOC grants you several benefits, among them we point out the following:

1) Use a single paper format
Each company usually needs several different paper formats, such as wide “easy reading” paper, pre-printed forms for invoices, customised A4 paper with logo and company headers used for mailing and so on.
All these paper formats can be easily substituted by standard A4 paper. Validoc can add all the graphical elements which are pre-printed on the traditional approach. It allows using any available font and formatting and it enhances the final result delivering laser-printer quality.
The advantages of using a single paper format are manifold, and involve filing in standardised folders, simpler mailing, standardised paper handling, easier storage in the company archives, no more risk of running out of stock of a kind of paper and an overall saving in paper costs.

2) Modify your pre-printed forms without the intervention of a typography
Several events require an editing of the standard forms for several kinds of documents. Think about changes to be made to text printed to meet legal requirements, new data to be printed both in internal or external documents, custom text and graphics to be used just in some cases of for a limited amount of time, special conditional “formatting” to be applied just on some documents and many more cases.
When using pre-printed forms all this means that you have to buy several different kinds of forms, you must handle all the stocks, sustain both the risk of shortage and the cost of unused (and unusable) stocks and so on.
Moreover there is a work time overhead since the paper handling is longer, more complex, less flexible, and ultimately not cost-effective and more error-prone.
All these problems are gone when using a single paper format.

3) No more paper change on the printer
Using pre-printed paper you must handle several paper changes on the printers. This means the people waste time changing paper formats, there are overheads due to errors in loading the wrong paper format or mistakes in handling the print queue, there is the need to ask other people to pause printing while you load a specific paper format and so on.
The bottom line is that printing takes more time, is less efficient, and all this means more costs.
Using Validoc instead printing is a “launch and forget” process, you do not have to worry about the kind of paper loaded, manage the print queue, ask to other people to wait for printing when you load your paper format, you do not have to search for that paper format. You do your job. Validoc delivers you your document properly printed.

4) Better printing quality
Validoc allows the usage of standardised forms for any printing task, even the ones that usually are not form-based since handling pre-printed paper for any kind of document would be too expensive.
Standardised and cost-effective printing allows better communications, reduces errors, and simplifies the filing of information.
Moreover the produced documents have laser printer quality, improving the overall readability of the documents and the quality of faxes.

5) Streamlined workflow for printing, e-mailing and faxing iSeries documents.
Validoc is an integrated software able to handle the whole document processing, from creation to format conversion, storage and transmission. This means that it is possible to save a considerable amount of time, achieving a higher quality result! Let Validoc handle the document life cycle and stop waiting for that fax transmission receipt. Validoc is an investment that pays itself quickly thanks to the improvements in your company processes and immediate savings on documents handling operations.

6) Easy access to iSeries documents stored in your network.
It is possible to turn simply and quickly and printout produced by Validoc into PDF and Tiff format, without any loss of information and formatting.
It is therefore possible to organise your storage automatically. You can instruct Validoc (through a simple configuration process) to save all the documents of a specific type, say “orders”, in a dedicated folder, filing them in appropriate subfolders organised by year, or by supplier, or by region, or by category of items ordered or whatever criteria you think is appropriate. Validoc handles the folders and subdfolders to allow several criteria to be applied at the same time. It handles as well proper file naming accordingly with user-defined criteria.
All this happens automatically whenever you print a document.

7) Mailing savings
In recent years “poste Italiane” developed a successful service called “Postel”. The aim of this service is to reduce costs related to printing, envelopes handling, stamping and other mailing-related operations.
Validoc can handle the whole process that starts with the print command and can take different routes: fax or e-mail or traditional mailing or direct integration with Postel services or any combination of these options.
For each document to be transmitted you can decide with a single command which route it must be directed to, whether it is the inexpensive e-mail, the cheap fax or the old, expensive but sometimes still necessary paper mail the decision is up to you. But once the decision is taken Validoc handles the whole process and delivers the document to the proper interface without further user intervention.

Validoc modules.
VALIDOC has 5 distinct modules: Printing, Extract, PDF-Tiff, E-mail and Fax.
We will now point out some key point for each of them.

Printing
This module adds to iSeries printing graphical layouts, being therefore able to make multiple copies printing of orders, DDT, production documents and so on. The graphical layouts can be created with any Windows-based graphical software; they are then imported into the iSeries and dynamically integrated in the printed documents. This module converts the fonts, the styles, the size (both LPI and CPI); it can operate on the whole document or just a part of it. Moreover the module can be used to print bar-coded labels, even using printers that do not support them natively. It is possible to “remap” the printout, that is redefine its contents (by adding variable or constant text, omitting some parts, copying data from different portions of the document, automatically number pages (also in the format “page x of Y”).
All this can be configured and differentiated for different copies of the document. The configuration is performed directly on the iSeries and uses a graphical preview to show how the document will look like.
Moreover it is possible to setup several conditions to apply automatic formatting parameters. Conditions can be based upon the contents of the document itself, external data, exit values provided by external programs, user data, queues, module-related information, number of the copy and many more.
The same set of conditional formatting options are supported by all the 5 modules of validoc.
PDF-Tiff
Format conversion module
This module converts the output of the “printing” module (both text and graphics) into standard PDF or TIFF files. It can automatically divide a single spool into different files, accordingly with several user-defined parameters. The output files are automatically saved on your server taking advantage of the full support to the filing and folder managing rules defined in the system to automatically build and keep up to date a hierarchy of folders.

E-mail
This module substitutes all the classical shipping systems such as mail and postel. The module can send PDF, TIFF or TXT documents produced by other Validoc modules as an e-mail attachment. It works fully automatically and follows all the formatting and shipping rules defined into the “Validoc” system.

Fax
This module allows faxing of graphical files produced by other Validoc modules. It has all the functions you can expect form a full-featured fax software, such as automatic fax sending, ability to create different cover pages accordingly with several parameters, ability to select which version of a document must be sent, ability to divide in different fax sessions the documents contained into a single spool file, configurable scheduling, automatic management of retrial should a transmission problem arise and so on.
You do not need external faxing programs any more, such as WinFax and ZetaFax. The fax modules (as well as the e-mail module) operate on the PC side and they both provide a convenient user interface to filter and manage any transmission status and information so that it is possible to have with a few clicks an overview of the shipping progress and of any transmission problem.

Extract
This iSeries-based module allows structured extraction of data from printings. It is possible to extract portions of the documents and send them to a receiving service on the iSeries or on a pc file in excel format. This allows further data manipulation, such as queries and statistics on the extracted data. This module can operate even without the support of an EDP manager and in those environments in which it is not possible to modify the installed software.


About the Author: Validoc




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