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Anyone who has tried to define the changes they wish to make to an existing IBM i printed document has experienced the feeling of knowing what they want, but not having the means to do it.

The Cobwebb Designer changes all that.

Starting with the IBM i print file from your application, which you want to modify: -

The print file is loaded into the left-hand window of the Cobwebb Designer (the Input pane) straight from any IBM i output queue; a Form Overlay (produced using any common forms software such as Microsoft Word and using the Cobwebb PPD Printer driver) can be loaded in the right hand window (the Output pane). Note that Cobwebb Designer is just as useful with pre-printed forms. See Creating your Overlay.

Using a set of specially designed tools, Cobwebb Designer allows you to drag and drop the text from the print file into the form, thus ensuring that the correct data is placed in the correct position. The form can be portrait or landscape.

Using the tools you can identify line items and totals so that data appearing on variable lines can be processed as required. Fixed text can be inserted depending on present conditions, and an ‘exit program’ can be called with parameters taken from the text to look up additional data from the IBM i database, including Barcodes and Fax Numbers.

Any number of Output Devices (Print, Fax, Email, File or Docstore) can be specified, which may be dependent on a condition, making it possible to distribute the printout to a variety of destinations.

To make the process of defining conditions easy, we have employed a visual ‘tree’ structure (Explorer wndow) similar to the familiar PC ‘Explorer’ function, to allow you to create a visual list of all the functions you have defined, including conditional tests and output devices. You can drag and drop the functions into order to perform the desired result.

The list of PPD instructions is exported to the IBM i together with any graphics / form overlays etc.

Cobwebb Server on the IBM i allows you to specify any spooled file to be processed using the file of instructions prepared on the PC. If a Form overlay is used the resulting spooled file is printed using an AFP printer, or any network printer supported by Host Print Transform, if you wish to print on pre-printed stationery use the *SCS print option to specify the IBM i output queue or printer, characters per inch, lines per inch, no. of copies etc...

To begin with you will have created a Cobwebb Design of instructions on the PC using the Cobwebb Designer. To view the imported files on the IBM i use Option 1 on the Cobwebb Main menu Work with PPD and the PPD File Maintenance menu, the imported files are: -

1 - Graphics files

2 - Font Groups

3 - Barcodes

4 - Printer Resources

6 - Output Devices

Note: - Any amendments should be made by using the Cobwebb Designer and then re-exporting the file.