Advanced capabilities for complex challenges
In addition to the vast set of advanced features that the XF Ultrascale Rendering Server offers, Ecrion all has several extended capabilities for truly complex document production needs. These extensions can be added to the Ultrascale Rendering Server to supplant functionality and help users meet a specific set of very demanding criteria.
DAL - Digital Assembly Line (DAL)
Increase Functionality, Simplify Unified Document Creation, and Maximize Print Resources Through Enhanced Input Capabilities and Imposition!
Digital Assembly Line (DAL), which can be added to the XF Ultrascale rendering engine, provides opportunities to enhance your documents with additional features. It works just like a real assembly line, by allowing users to append useful post-processing components in a step-by-step fashion. DAL can first be used to take dynamic and static inputs and create a complete, unified document. It many cases, it is also used to intelligently organize mass printing runs, so that large documents and small documents within a batch are automatically processed according to the rules established by your organization. Lastly, DALprovides for imposition and overlaying, so that layouts can be designed in a logical fashion to maximize print resources, and barcodes can be applied to documents to relay pertinent information to inserter or envelope stuffing machines. With DAL, you can implement pragmatic and resource-efficient solutions to help you overcome the business-critical obstacles you encounter.
Mixing Dynamic and Static Data
Picture an insurance company that is creating millions of policy declaration statements. These documents are rife with both static data (company profile information, standard forms, client resources, etc.) and dynamic data (customer information, coverage details, limitations, etc.). What’s more is that some of the data may exist in multiple databases, whereas other pieces of information are in the form of a pdf or WordML file. DAL can be set up to automatically take all of these inputs in their various forms and assemble it into one unified, paginated document, complete with consistent branding, headers, footers, and more.
Figure 1: Below you can see how XML is combined with a static input as well as a template to generate a unified and properly paginated output.
Input and Output
Supported input formats: XSL-FO, XML and XSL, XML and XFD, HTML, DocX, WordML, EPS, and PDF
Supported output formats: PDF, PostScript, AFP
Creating Efficient Print Jobs
Imagine a Telecom organization that is producing printed invoices for a mix of both individual consumers and corporate clientele. The invoices created for the two groups will vary drastically in size (individuals will have far less activity to record and report than corporate accounts), thereby affecting how many pages will be created, what size the envelopes need to be, and how much it will cost to post them. With DAL, you can create 2 different jobs to automatically sort these invoices into large and small batch groups, so that they are sent to appropriate print shops based on their specialty in order to maximize resources, and ensure the documents get out in the fastest and most cost efficient manner possible.
Implementing Advanced Functionality: Imposition and Overlays
Finally, picture a marketing department creating numerous brochures, foldouts, catalogs, fliers, and more. They need to be able to specify layouts so that logical and physical pages align with one another, because when the documents are printed, it needs to be done in a fashion that makes sense for the final output. Moreover, some of these documents are going to be mailed directly, and they need to include the appropriate directions to pass to the envelope inserter machines in order to be processed correctly. DAL supports imposition for the printing process to ensure that when the documents are sent to print, they are specifically laid out to reflect the correct order of the document pages. For example, a double-sided tri-fold brochure would require that pages 3 and 6 be printed back to back, to tell the story in the proper order. Further, DAL is able to overlay barcodes that contain inserter instructions atop the documents to give the envelope stuffing machines the necessary information to perform its process. In this instance, DALsimplifies the printing and distribution process of the marketing team’s efforts by automating these pertinent aspects of delivering professional collateral.
Figure 2: Here a sample print layout utilizing imposition can be seen. When set up properly, DAL allows for pages to be aligned both logically and physically.
Generating Revenue Using Data Analytics and Business Rules.
Transpromo functionality is a fundamental part of the document composition solution provided by Ecrion. It allows organizations to send customers highly targeted messages through the communications they produce. It combines the existing transactional message that companies are already mailing to their customers (in bills, for example) with targeted promotional messages.
Ecrion’s Transpromo application works by analyzing customer data for preconditioned triggers, and automatically inserts smart promotional messages seamlessly into the layout of your documents. It does so in one of 2 ways: It can automatically find and use blank space in a page, or layouts can be designed to reserve additional space for the Transpromo message.
Figure 1: Reserving space for promotional message:
Figure 2: Finding and utilizing blank space
Load-Balancing to increase efficiency
NetLink is a load balancing service that runs on top of the XF Rendering Server.
Load balancing means distributing processing and communications activity evenly across a computer network so that no single server is overwhelmed. Busy sites typically employ two or more servers in a load balancing scheme. If one server starts to get swamped, requests are forwarded to another server with more capacity.
- Process more documents in less time.
- Ensures reliability by retrying failed requests on different machines.
- The load balancing service is completely transparent to the applications and it can be configured entirely using the XF Management Console.
- One web server that uses other computers to increase the processing capacity
- The web server can forward requests to all worker nodes, and it can also use the local resources to process documents.
- The local server can also be used for load balancing, or it can be excluded. In this latest scenario, all requests are forwarded to the remote computers.
- Multiple servers sharing a pool of computers
- A cost effective way to obtain formidable scalability and reliability; nodes can be added and removed dynamically without any downtime.
Web Services (WSDL) Interface
Free add-on that enables web service connectivity. After installing go to http://localhost/XFWS/ecrion/services/XFWS.asmx to read about this web service. Or go to http://localhost/XFWS/ecrion/services/XFWS.asmx?WSDL to get a copy of the WSDL file.
Variable Data Printing (VDP) Optimization Model
Save Valuable Time and Minimize the Burden Large Print Jobs Have on your Organization!
Producing and printing large batch documents can be a tremendous strain on your IT resources. Document runs in which hundreds of thousands of pages are being printed often require the monopolization of hardware and consume large portions of valuable working memory. Not to mention they take hours to complete. With the Variable Data Printing (VDP) Optimization Module from Ecrion, we can help ease the burden these massive print runs have on your resources.
VDP works by separating the information in your document into 2 different categories: static content and dynamic content. Static content is anything recurring throughout the pages of the document, such as headers, footers, logos, etc. Dynamic content is the information that is unique to each page, such as page numbers, customer information, or any other variable data.
By categorizing the document, VDP can drastically increase the speed in which print jobs can be completed. Instead of having to draw the static content over and over again, the rendering engine only has to pull it once, create a cache, and then the resource will be automatically inserted for each page in which it is required. The VDP Optimization Module significantly reduces the amount of content that has to be rasterized, which greatly expedites the time it takes to complete your critical print job.
Reusing the content instead of reloading it means faster printing, a smaller strain on resources, and increased efficiency - add those up and you get significant cost savings. VDP is supported by most major print outputs, such as PDF, AFP and Postscript, so it is easy to implement within your existing processes.
Figure 1: The VDP Feature can be easily enabled from the ribbon with a single click.
Above you can see how easy it is to activate VDP directly from the ribbon. Upon enabling VDP, it will then automatically scan your template and categorize your data into either static or dynamic content.
Figure 2: Print layout view showing both the static and dynamic content.
Using VDP, you have the ability to view the categories of content within your template. Here, in the ribbon, you can see that both the static and dynamic data boxes are checked, meaning that all of the content within the document is displayed. This gives users the ability to see exactly what the document will look like when the output is rendered and printed.
Figure 3: Print layout view showing only the static content.
In this view of the print layout, you can see that only the static data box is checked. This gives users the ability to see what portion of their document has been categorized as static. This is the content that recurrs throughout all the pages of the document and will be cached and reused instead of reloaded every time the content appears. In this case, VDP recognizes that the header is repeating, and it stores the data so that it does not need to be rasterized for each page, which cuts down on both the amount of working memory required to execute this print job, as well as the time required to complete the job.
Figure 4: Print layout view showing only the dynamic content.
Finally, here you can see in the ribbon of the print layout view that only the dynamic data box is checked. By checking this box, we see only the variable content that is pulled from the data. This gives us a view of the information that is changing from page to page within the document. In this case, that content is the account information and individualized invoice items that are unique to each customer. This is the changing data that the renering engine does pull each time, as the content differs from page to page.
Adobe Reader Extensions
Many times organizations need to generate documents with forms that can be filled out by the end user. In some cases, the end user has Acrobat Reader Professional which enables them to save the completed document on their local hard drive.
Large organizations (banks, insurance companies, financial institutions, etc.) also have the option of letting their users save the documents with Acrobat Reader Standard instead of Professional.
This is possible because Acrobat Reader Standard comes with many features of Acrobat Pro, but those features are not enabled unless the PDF documents are signed with a special key.
Ecrion can sign the documents with the Adobe Reader Extensions key - the keys are issued on a per document or per user basis.