FormSprint by ICS

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What's New blog for IBM i, FormSprint, and FormsTrack users and fans covers topics such as new software from ICS, IBM i news and helpful hints, and even the latest news in mobile technology.

Signature Manager

ICS is releasing Signature Manager, a signature capture application running on the AppleŽ iPadŽ tablet.

The application uses the FormSprint Archive Database system resident on the IBM i to retrieve and display the document requiring signature. In the most fundamental use, after displaying the document, the tablet provides a field for signing directly on the tablet, displays the signed document, and then files it back in the IBM i in a separate archiver database for signed documents.

But there are many more options. These include automatic date stamping, display of terms or conditions that the signer needs to accept, text entries or comments to be added to the form, selection of notes or phrases from a listing, and check boxes permitting the signer to check off entries on the form.

All of these functions are controlled by entries made in the spool mapper section of the form design. With only a few entries in the spool mapper, any existing form can be set up for archiving and signature capture. The resulting system looks like a custom application on the iPad tablet, but is easily designed and implemented by the FormSprint user.

The Signature Manager settings system defines which archiver databases are to be included in the signature manager system and what actions are to be taken after a document is signed. Options include where the signed documents are to be stored, where signed documents are to be printed, where a PDF file of the signed document is to be stored, and the email address for emailing each signed document. However, at signing, the signed document can be emailed to any additional email addresses directly from the tablet.

Signature Manager is offered in two versions. The Standard version is intended for point of sale signature capture, such as acceptance of a rental contract at the time of pick up. The tablet needs to have a connectionn to the local network to capture the signature and other entries. The Enterprise version is designed for field work. The form is loaded to the tablet before heading out, and then all data can be captured in the field and is automatically sent back to the host machine when internet service becomes available. The Enterprise version also permits photographs to be taken and included in the file.

Web Archiver Interface

The FormSprint Web Archiver interface permits internet web access to the FormSprint Archiver Database System. Users access the FormSprint server on the AS/400, log in with their AS/400 userid and password, and then select any of the archiver databases to which they have security access. The interface provides all the features of the AS/400 software, including keyed searches for specific records, and then viewing, printing, emailing, faxing, and PDF conversion of the selected record. FormSprint utilities are required to use the emailing, faxing, and PDF features.

Color Graphic Support

FormSprint supports full color graphics, which can be selected, positioned, and resized using the existing procedures supported for monchrome graphics.

The graphics are prepared using a 3-step process. First, the graphic is opened in an image editing program, such as PAINT or Adobe photo shop. It is then save as a BMP file to an IFS drectory. A FormSprint utility is then used to convert the graphic to a full color graphic compatible with FormSprint. Since all color information is stored in the graphic, the FormSprint color palette is not required.

FormsTrack iDelivery

FormsTrack iDelivery (FTID) is an Apple® iPad® ap that communicates with the IBM i via the i's web server. When a driver logs in,FTID downloads documents such as a delivery invoice to the iPad. When a delivery is made, the items in the delivery can be checked off, comments added and the delivery signed for on the iPad. The signature and comments become part of the document, which is immediately transmitted back to the IBM i. The customer's copy is automatically emailed and status of the delivery is immediately available at the distribution center rather than when the driver returns.

QR Code

Further enhancing FormSprint's broad barcode printing capability, version 201201 supports the Quick Response Code commonly abbreviated as the QR Code. The barcode has gained popularity outside the automotive industry for which it was designed, according to Wikipedia, because it handles much more information than barcodes such as the UPC barcode and it is supported by smart phones and other devices.

The QR Code is supported both in the Spool Mapper and the form flash. As with other barcodes, the QR code is accessed from the Fonts and Special Functions screen of the Spool Mapper simply by putting an X next to it and setting the barcode height parameter for the desired bar code size in millimeters.

In the flash definition, the multiline text screen can be used for the input data.

Dynamic Duplex Control

FormSprint version 2012 supports Dynamic Duplex Control. Prior to this release, duplexing was either on or off for a given form/print job. Dynamic duplex control permits printer duplexing to be turned on or off based on the spool file content. Spool files can contain a mixture of pages requiring duplexing and those to be printed on a single side. The result is faster printing time and fewer printer cycle counts.

Some of our users lease printers and are charged by the page count. Here's an example of how this new feature would benefit someone paying by the page.

If he had a 10 page document and the first two pages were duplexed but the rest were printed on only one side, he had to set the entire print stream to duplex. He was charged correctly for the first two pages, which were actually duplexed, but then charged for both sides of the remaining eight pages, even though the backs were blank. The first two pages were charged correctly as two prints, but the remaining eight pages were charged as duplex pages equal to 16 prints, all adding up to a total of 18.

By shutting off the duplex function, his charge was simply two plus eight for a total of 10 page prints. He saves the cost of eight pages.

Signature Manager

Web Archiver Interface

Color Graphics

FormsTrack iDelivery

QR Code

Dynamic Duplex Control

FormSprint...It just works!

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