UnForm uses a platform-independent client-server model, so you can put UnForm on
any network machine, Windows®, Unix®, or Linux, and submit jobs to it from
any other network machine, Windows, Unix, or Linux. When jobs are printed
at the server, the client need not wait for job completion, resulting
in control returning to the user immediately.
UnForm provides a Perl-based client for use on Unix and Linux, and two Windows
clients: one graphical and one console. The Windows client provides graphical status
windows and configuration, while the console client has no dependencies and can
be run across a network without local installation.
In addition to these powerful, proprietary clients, UnForm supports direct TCP/IP printing,
similar to the widely supported HP JetDirect method of network printing. Using
TCP/IP printing, network printing to server resources is easy to set up and configure.
Graphical Design Tool
An optional Windows-based graphical design tool is available, providing an efficient,
flexible, and powerful way to develop and test UnForm rule files.
Document Management and Archiving
This optional capability enables archiving of both text and PDF versions of documents
with minimal changes to the UnForm implementation. Through both client command line
arguments and the simple archive
rule file command, documents are stored in
libraries and are accessible via a Web Browser, an UnForm command line, or to other
In addition, external documents and images can be stored as alternate versions of
any document in a library. The Image Manager tool is available to scan and
import images and other documents into a library. For example, after UnForm has
printed and stored a delivery document, the Image Manager can scan a signed
copy of the document and store it along with the original in the archive.
Windows Support Server
The Windows Support Server is a free component that adds several capabilities to
the UnForm server, even if that server is running on a Unix or Linux system. These
- Image scaling and conversion, including rotation, gamma, and ZPL image support
- Database access via ODBC data sources
- Microsoft Fax support
- Advanced barcoding features, including 2D barcodes, rotation, and human readable text
The Support Server is also used in conjunction with UnForm AFO, Application
Formatted Output, which enables UnForm to accept pre-formatted documents in
PostScript or PDF format.
UnForm includes a built in SMTP email client for emailing of PDF job output, confirmation
notes, and more. The email functionality includes support for authentication. Combined
with UnForm's sub-job support, it is easy to develop print applications that email
and print selected documents within a job stream.
is the printer control language used by most HP Laserjet
series printers, and is emulated on most brands of laser printers
available today. With PCL5, UnForm not only can produce high-quality
forms, but can also manage the printer environment with tray and bin
control, duplexing, and multi-printer routing.
Note that PCL6 is not an upward compatible version of PCL5, but
rather a brand new language called PCL/XL which is not supported.
However, most PCL6 printers include PCL5 emulation, so check with
the manufacturer to confirm PCL5 compatibility.
PostScript is a printer language designed by Adobe and supported
by many printers. In addition, PostScript is supported by many third-party
software applications, such as Ghostscript and several faxing applications.
PDF is the electronic document format used by the Adobe Acrobat
product line. Adobe Acrobat readers are available free for most computer
platforms, and are standard plug-ins for current web browers. This format
allows forms and reports to displayed by web browsers or Acrobat Readers,
or to be emailed. PDF files can be encrypted and protected, and UnForm can
produce a bookmark outline to help navigate large documents.
Windows Printing is an extension of the PDF driver, used in
conjunction with Ghostscript to print to any Windows printer using
page images with tray and duplex control.
HTML is the native language of web browsers. While not suitable
for business forms, this format provides an excellent way to update
character-based reports to make them more readable and accessible.
Zebra barcode label printers are the most widely used thermal
label printers. UnForm can produce ZPLII output for formatted labels
for use in heavy barcode label applications on Zebra and compatible
, such as headings and messages, can be added anywhere on a
page, in any font, size, or symbol set available on the device. The
text can be a simple literal value, or can be derived from an expression,
an environment variable, or read from a substitution file.
Boxes can be drawn anywhere, in any size. The four sides can vary
in width, and the center can be white, black or shaded. Grid lines and
shaded columns and rows are supported within any box. Box corners can be
Shade regions can be drawn anywhere on the page, in any shade
grade supported by the device.
Circles can be drawn at any location on a page, with any radius.
Circles can be filled.
Lines can be drawn between any two points, in any thickness.
Barcodes can be generated in many standard symbologies.
MICR check encoding can be generated for laser-printed checks.
Images can be placed anywhere on a page. Image file names can
be fixed, or can be expressions, making it possible to vary the image
from page to page. For example, if you want a purchasing agent signature
to print on your purchase orders, the agent code can be used to derive
the image file name.
Images can also be tiled on appended pages. This feature can be used
to attach supporting documents, such as time sheet images or signed
delivery documents, to forms.
Attachments and overlays can be added to any copy, so you can use
any design tool to generate formats that UnForm can utilize for static
format overlays or attachments.
Copies can be managed by UnForm, allowing printing of multiple copies
of the same form, with different attributes on each. In addition, each copy
can be routed to a different bin or device, or can draw paper from a
different tray. It is also possible to selectively skip copies, so print jobs
with different page layouts interspersed throughout the run can be controlled
by assigning different layouts to different copies, then selectively
printing the proper form as needed.
Anchored Enhancements allow UnForm to analyze each page of a print
job and apply enhancements anchored to one or more occurrences of text
or patterns. Most enhancement features support this capability, which
greatly simplifies tasks such as adding font changes or barcodes to variable
item detail lines. This also makes it possible to enhance standard reports, such
as agings or financial statements.
UnForm definitions can contain programming code to do advanced
manipulation or integration. Many elements of UnForm commands, such
as text values, image names, or positional elements, can be entered as
expressions that are resolved page by page as the job is processed.
In addition, program code can be placed into
any of eight subroutines that are executed at specific times as the
printing progresses through each page. These subroutines have
full access to the text printed by the application, and can control many
control aspects of the printing process.
UnForm programming code can even be used to execute sub-jobs of UnForm within
a primary job, making it possible to create and distribute individual documents
within a job stream.
No other form product can match UnForm's flexibility due to this
integration of a complete programming language in the product.
External Product Integration
the Windows Support Server
is built into UnForm. This free product enables advanced image conversion
and scaling (including for ZPL images), database access, advanced barcoding, and Microsoft Fax
for dynamic image conversion
and scaling, so it is not necessary to pre-generate native pcl or
pdf images for jobs, nor necessary to develop complex system calls programming
to dynamically use Alchemy.
Ghostscript®-based image drivers, so UnForm output can
be produced in PostScript®, TIFF, PNG, and many other image formats
supported by Ghostscript.
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