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February 10, 2014

No need to look far to find a PDF 3000 utility

GawkingAtPaperStackPDF is becoming the archival choice for so many companies. Documents that once moved about in formats specific to their environments, like HP 3000 reports, have been earmarked for PDF transformation. For some companies, they'll need storage of these documents outside of the 3000 disks and databases.

Ray Shahan mentioned such a project on the 3000 newsgroup recently. 

We’re looking at storing all of our printable historical transaction docs on the HP 3000 as PDF docs in a SQL Server database. We’ve looked at winpcl2pdf that uses GhostPCL, but had some issues using it due to the CCTL from the 3000.

We also are looking at two products from OpenSeas, SpoolPDF (handles the CCTL) and OpenPDF (does the conversion of PCL to PDF).  These two products seem to work fairly well (we’ve hit a snag or two with fonts, but have resolved those thus far).

It’d be ideal to have a freeware product, but that seems unlikely, so we’re just looking at other offerings to see the cost/benefits of each.

There's a 3000-friendly solution in plain sight, from a long-time provider, that handles both the PDF creation -- plus the movement onto the SQL Server database. Hillary Software supplies these utilities.

The company sells byRequest for any PDF conversions that are needed. Plus, it's got software called onHand for the SQL Server storage requirement, according to Hillary's Chuck Nickerson.

Shahan makes a good point about the true value of freeware, which can be worth what you pay for it. The 3000's got those CCTL nuances, and then there's the font issues. Hillary describes onHand as a "virtual file cabinet."

onHand is a virtual file cabinet -- an integrated content management system.  Classify, index, organize and store thousands of documents, reports, forms and data in their native file formats like PDF, Excel, HTML, Word and more.

Eliminate the clutter and clumsiness of Windows and FTP folder storage methods. E-file directly from byREQUEST into onHand.  Control document security and document retention timeframes as you publish.  Use the power of an SQL relational database with onHand for both short and long term archives.

Archiving is a mission in steep growth for HP 3000s, since the servers carry so much company history in their databases. Buying the most skilled tool can be a worthwhile investment. There are few out there that handle all reporting -- and know the world of MPE/iX and the 3000 -- as well as the Hillary products. PDF is one of the byRequest specialties.

While other products such as Sanface's txt2pdf have been bent to serve the HP 3000, byRequest is built to extract and distribute reporting from any HP 3000 application. Kim Borgman of National Wine & Spirits said, "We [use it to] e-mail all our reports now. Hardly any printing happens on the line printer anymore." byRequest has been tuned up to support secure FTP as well, according to another 3000 manager.

Nickerson said the company's 3000 plans are set for the future. "If your 3000 is plugged in, we'll support it," he said. "If it's unplugged, we'll help you plug it in." Hillary will also help move byRequest to any migration platform after it's finished working on the HP 3000.

05:47 PM in Homesteading | Permalink

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