Old comparison RPM 4.5 to 5.0
Our RPM Remote Print Manager® version 4.5 Elite product is the single biggest selling product in our company's history. Replacing it with new technology was not done overnight. Our crucial priorities included:
- Maintaining compatibility with previous releases, in terms of functionality and importing configurations
- Perform better than, at least as well as, the previous release
- Provide a stable growth platform for future development
Following are the main areas where the new RPM is different from the old. By "old" we mean version 4.5 and previous; "new" refers to RPM version 5.0.
Queue types and options are now Actions and Transforms
The most significant change to RPM is in the way we process your data. The "old" RPM had 3 queue types: text, raw and filter:
- Text queues processed data so that ultimately it could be sent to a Windows printer, featuring font selection, control over font metrics such as lines per inch and characters per inch, etc. RPM operations for reading text and translating SCS were done with an end result in mind of rendering on a page.
- Raw queues sent data directly to the printer, using the Windows API. RPM could still do operations such as insert a file or append, remove bytes, etc.
- Filter queues come from the Unix world. The idea here was to present your print job data to a program, not our program but yours.
- As a special case, RPM would archive your print file in a folder if you left the filter command line empty.
In the "new" RPM we provide around forty transforms for making sundry changes to your data. The transforms you use are up to you. When RPM imports a configuration file from RPM version 4.5 or earlier, it automatically creates transforms which will work with your data the same way the old RPM did, for instance, removing PCL codes, translating SCS to ASCII, etc. We've also added a number of new ones, such as removing lines up to or following a search string, a string translator, several transforms that create PDF, and others.
We give you full access to the transforms, the order in which they are done and their settings, for maximum flexibility. And we're always available to provide consulting
We also provide actions, which describe the output of your jobs. We support printing and running a program, and archiving to disk is now a supported feature, not a hidden asset. We also support email, and we can send your print job as an attachment or as the message body.
However, the chief difference with actions is that we now support unlimited actions per queue. You are no longer restricted to one action as in the previous version. This makes it simple to set up broadcast printing, for instance, even with incompatible printer models. If they are all supported by Windows, then you can print to each one by simply adding text print actions and configuring each one for your desired printer.
Create PDF documents
RPM has added two ways to create PDF documents:
- Text markup to PDF. RPM reads text files, SCS (from an IBM mainframe), ASA (also from mainframes) and assorted formats. It converts these into an internal format used to denote text placement, font metrics, bold and other characteristics. This format is used for text printing, and RPM can also create PDF using these same instructions.
RPM Elite adds to this support for PDF passwords, metadata, controlling print and copy, etc.
- RPM Elite includes the ability to convert HP PCL files to PDF, with permissions support.
Windows registry vs. database
RPM now stores configuration, log and jobs in a database. Previously we used the Windows registry. Not only do we get much better performance, but we also support database search features.
Devices vs. printers
RPM now treats printers, folders and command lines as devices. Device support includes:
- no device testing until needed for a job; this was a cause of lengthy delays previously for printers shared from hosts which were off line
- we can now set device use limits so concurrent print jobs don't over-use system resources
- we also have a device tester which automatically tests devices in the "Error" state, and when the error is cleared, automatically makes the device availble for use
RPM version 5.0 uses device limits as does the previous versions. The device limits page explains how this works.
Threading and print job processing
Previously RPM operated in a single thread which checked for network connections (incoming print jobs), configuration requests from the GUI, jobs to print, and more. The new RPM breaks these activities into separate threads, a concept well supported on modern CPUs as the sales of dual core and quad core processors signifies.
In particular we now perform print job processing in 2 or more threads. RPM will execute all the transforms specified for a print job, then hand each action off to a thread. What this means to you is that instead of one large print job occupying all of RPMs attentions, while the smaller ones wait idly by, RPM will handle at least two jobs at once. RPM Select is limited to two print tasks, while RPM Elite defaults to five, and this number is configurable.
Our tests, as well as informal customer feedback, have shown this to be very satisfactory.
More advanced user interface
The GUI (graphic user interface) has also been completely rewritten. Enhancements from the previous version include:
- Drag and drop jobs from Windows Explorer onto a queue
- Drag and drop jobs between queues
- You can export the log to a CSV file
- You can search the log inside the GUI
- Import and export configuration as XML, though we can still read the old REG files for import.
This page lists the product roadmap.