Netlink Add-On

NetLink is a load balancing service that runs on top of the XF Rendering Server. It helps distribute processing activity evenly across a computer network so that no single server is overwhelmed. Mission critical deployments typically employ two or more XF servers in a load balancing scheme. If one server goes down, requests are forwarded to another server in the cluster. This also helps increase throughput by using multiple computers to process the load. 

  • Process more documents in less time
  • Improves reliability by automatically retrying failed requests on different machines

Usage scenarios

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

DAL (Digital Assembly Line) Add-On

Digital Assembly Line (DAL), 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, DAL provides 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.

Combining dynamic and static documents

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 them 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 telecommunications 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 two different jobs to automatically sort these invoices into large and small batch groups. This ensures 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, DAL simplifies 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.

Advanced Output Formats Add-On

Many times organizations need to generate documents with advanced output formats, such as AFP (IBM MO:DCA print streams) for larger print jobs or DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) for healthcare specific communications.

The Advanced Output (AOUT) Add-On to the XF Rendering Server provides enhanced support for the production of documents in output formats such as these.