COBOL migration options: More advice
HP's history becomes a phenomenon

E-forms integration worth discounted price

Minisoft announced this morning that its eFORMz document management software is being discounted by 35 percent through the end of January, 2010. The software creates PDF documents for e-mailing and secure exchange. It runs with multiple platforms, including the HP 3000. Customers using products such as Optio, CreatForm and Jetform qualify, as well as others.

In addition to smart forms, deeper barcode features and a secure numeric font for check printing, eFORMz brings something even more significant to a paperless drive toward PDF forms and e-document management: ongoing support and continued updates. Those are benefits that are worth paying a vendor for, rather than working with open source solutions.

Enterprise IT in the 3000 world can have pretty low budgets these days, but free solutions cost something. The price is the integration expertise, usually measured in hours or days spent plugging in an open source tool. You rely on the open source community to keep your free solution updated, too, unless you've studied the source code enough to create "diffs" for MPE/iX versions. That's what QSS developer Mark Bixby is doing this month. He has also advised the 3000 community to learn such porting skills.

Minisoft reports that it will include updates to the new eFORMz for one year as part of its discount. While you cannot be certain that open source software will need more work in its first year, there's no guarantee of such updates being created.

Bixby gave sage advice to the community in the years after HP announced its exit from the 3000. While still working at HP, but after he moved away from 3000 duties, he said anyone staying on the system in a homestead mode would be well served to learn how to port open source solutions like Samba or perl. A vendor with a paid solution lets a homestead site leave the driving to vendor developers, like Neal Kazmi at Minisoft.