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Unix conversions can include forms

Most migrations present a wide array of tasks and challenges, from finding a new facility for job handling to the more mundane replacement of 3000 forms. A few ideas have surfaced on the 3000 newsgroup to replace HP 3000-specialized forms solutions such as Fantasia.

While Fantasia does have a product which moves the forms solution to Unix, there's also a cross-platform option that's been proven at Minisoft. This vendor of printing, middleware and connectivity solutions has served the 3000 community for more than two decades. Its lineup includes eFORMz, a forms and document management suite written in Java that runs on the HP 3000, HP 9000, Unix, Linux, and Windows. The eFORMz solution recently added RTF document support in its 7.0 version.

"This is a product that many Fantasia users have migrated to over the years," said Minisoft founder Doug Greenup. The 3000 community has also used Minisoft's ODBC, OLE DB, and JDBC middleware products that support IMAGE, Eloqence and Oracle.

Open source software can provide roll-your-own functionality for forms conversions, too. Charles Finley of Transformix suggests that Adobe PDF-oriented open source products can do this. "It is not horribly difficult or expensive for someone with Unix and scripting skills," Finley said. "However, it might prove to be a challenge for a do-it-yourselfer."

The idea is to convert the forms you are going to merge with to PDF, and then convert your HP 3000 print output to PDF and merge the two. The idea is to use one of the Unix open source products that translate from text to postscript (i.e. A2ps, enscript, etc.) -- and then convert from Postscript to PDF using something like ps2pdf. Finally, you use any one of a number of PDF merge tools to do the merge. All of this is assembled together in a [Unix] script and automated.