RPM 6 product highlights

Thu, 06/06/2013 - 16:35 By Dave Brooks

The major feature additions and updates for RPM Remote Print Manager® (RPM) version 6.0 follow. This release is currently available, starting Monday, July 1, 2013.

Database improvements:

  • Refactored for improved performance
  • Built-in maintenance from the GUI--no more scripts
  • Job scheduling options built into the database
  • You can customize where the database is stored, so you are not dependent on our path
  • Logging is now selective so you can further reduce the load by eliminating messages you are not interested in
  • Database access is managed by a separate server, no longer internal to RPM

Performance improvements:

  • RPM does a much better job of processing multiple jobs simultaneously, up to the limit of the available worker tasks. In the past, it tended to run 1-2 at a time.
  • RPM can now send jobs directly to networked printers, bypassing the Windows spooler entirely.
  • Crash Reporting - RPM Service should not be brought offline by external instabilities (as often) and will provide us debugging information where appropriate. No confidential information is sent during crash reporting, of course.

More user interface improvements:

  • The user interface has been completely rewritten and is now very efficient.
  • Copy queue configuration from one queue to another using drag and drop
  • Reorder transforms via drag & drop or via keyboard shortcuts
  • You can open multiple queue configurations side by side for comparison
  • You can selectively disable actions and transforms
  • Separate windows can display a master list of actions and transforms
  • The GUI can display in multiple languages
  • An events pane was added to facilitate easier troubleshooting of problems
  • You can administer RPM on remote hosts
  • You can quickly and easily email problematic print jobs directly to support (note that you can obscure the data, see below under “Transforms”)
  • We added a built-in check for updates
  • You can customize which application is used to preview a print job
  • You can now view the message log filtered by job, device, queue, and more.

Job scheduling:

  • We added a priority job scheduler, where you can weight various items and better control your job order
  • You can order by job ID

New actions:

  • You can send jobs directly to an LPR printer, avoid the Windows spooler
  • Send jobs via a direct TCP connection on a configurable port, usually 9100, and avoid the Windows spooler

New transforms:

  • Break up non-paginated data by lines per page
  • FCFC, First Character Form Control, a format used by IBM
  • Data sanitize, obscure all customer data in a print job while preserving formatting
  • Add a watermark to a PDF file, either an image or another PDF

PDF improvements:

  • Add watermarks to PDFs, including images and existing PDFs as overlays
  • Supports multiple overlays for PDF files

New security:

  • Printer crashes and faulty print drivers no longer crash RPM
  • For remote RPM administration, passwords are no longer sent in plain text over the wire
  • RPM now tracks print driver versions, provides several ways to deal with configuration issues

PCL options:

  • Macros are now supported in the improved PCL to text conversion 
  • Change PCL input trays and output bins on the fly including mapping any tray to a given tray, and the same with bins

JetPCL support (Elite only):

  • We now have integrated support from Tech Know Systems for their JetPCL product. It is a high-end PCL to PDF conversion with a large variety of other translations including images, PostScript, and text extraction

Licensing changes:

  • RPM skips network devices with certain names which don’t preserve the MAC address
  • RPM now supports a “live trial” where, for a period of 7 days, you can use the product as if it were activated, suppressing trial watermarks
  • We have removed the "trial limits" where you could only archive so many jobs during the trial, etc.

RPC support:

  • We have our own remote procedure call (RPC) mechanism which we use for commands, events and updates. 
  • “RPC” is our integrated suite of events and commands which allow 3rd party applications to control RPM’s behavior and configuration.
  • Some of the ways our customers are already using RPC features:
    • Administering and monitoring multiple RPM Installations from a single workstation.
    • Integrated trickle-feed printing - queued jobs are released to idle printers, all centrally managed by a client database.
    • System-wide event support - create custom reports and logs filtered to your criteria.  Track devices, actions, transforms, queues, and more.
    • Scheduled behaviors - modify configurations, suspend background queues during busy hours, plan job processing during off-peak times, or customize job retention settings on a per-job basis.
    • Output organization - add custom logic to track and schedule multi-part jobs, reschedule separator pages between groups of jobs, and report back to a client database when processing concludes.

Additional use cases for RPC: 

  • Process jobs “out of band” – your program tells RPM which jobs, and in what order, to work on.
  • Filter jobs – if a job does not meet criteria you specify, you can remove it instead of processing it.
  • Monitoring/reporting – request real-time updates about which users are printing, to which volumes or devices, etc.
  • On-the-fly job-level configuration – incoming print data can contain configuration information. Your program can read the job, determine the appropriate settings, update RPM, release the job, then revert to the previous settings when the job is complete.
  • Sorting – a separate process can contain rules that move jobs between RPM queues for fully customized workflows.

More features: