Production PrintKit software provides effective solutions for high volume, strategic printing applications for OpenVMS systems.
Version 2.3

The PrintKit Production Printing Interface software provides networked client/server access to production printing resources for documents composed using the page description languages and job specifications that are standard to OpenVMS. Northlake Software has worked closely with leading printer vendors to validate Production PrintKit with selected high end printing configurations. This collaboration, as well as the capabilities of the software itself, can provide you with a planned transition to an effective production printing solution, protect your existing investments, and open a path for your future printing needs.

The Production PrintKit software consists of a print symbiont that is integrated with the OpenVMS printing services, and an accompanying management utility.

Production PrintKit is based on technology refined in Northlake’s PrintKit Network Printing Interface for “open architecture” mid-range printing, a product with over five years of customer use. Its design also reflects knowledge gained from Northlake’s long experience delivering production printing solutions to OpenVMS customers.

Production PrintKit is designed to work with printers in standard network configurations using TCP/IP based protocols. This “off the shelf” technology offers fewer points of failure than solutions based on specialized hardware interfaces and is easier to trouble-shoot when problems do occur.

The product’s support plan is tailored to the demanding require-ments of production environments. It provides guaranteed response time and well defined procedures for problem prioritization and escalation. 7x24 hour coverage is available for customers with extended hours of operation or time-critical applications.

Standard, compatible printing services

Production PrintKit provides an upward extension of the OpenVMS printing architecture that is compatible with DECprint services for mid-range printing. It matches the DECprint user and application interfaces, including the full parameter set and ANSI-PPL3 (LN03) emulation. This allows migration of applications to higher capacity printers to meet production requirements, and it allows applications to use a single, consistent printing model, whether generating low or high volume output. It also means users can continue to use familiar printing operations.

Where Production PrintKit extends the DECprint model, the new features are consistent with the ISO 10175 (Document Printing Application) standard on which the DECprint interface is also based.

Effective printer controls

At a basic level, production PrintKit matches the DECprint job specification model, which provides a full set of controls for general purpose mid-range printing. In two key areas where production printing differs from general purpose printing (in addition to sheer volume), media selection and document finishing, PrintKit extends the job model. A full attribute-based media handling model includes multiple selections within a document, media substitution, and electronic forms overlays (a “just in time” replacement for preprinted forms). Multi-step finishing specifications provide final document assembly.

PrintKit gives you full control over features, such as tray selection and duplexing, that are provided by the printer model you are using.

You can select printer features in a consistent fashion (standard tray names, for example) and specify requirements in a portable manner (paper selection by size, color, weight and type, for example). This makes it easier to use printers interchangeably in a mixed configuration, and it makes printing more dependable.

The information to provide these controls comes from PostScript Printer Description (PPD) files, a standard developed by Adobe Systems – a PPD file describes the features of a particular printer and provides the printer-specific commands required to control the printer. PrintKit ships with a database of validated printer model definitions, and Northlake supplies updates as we validate new printer models. (You can also define your own models.)

Administration and operations

The printer management and job processing performed by Production PrintKit are inherently complicated – complexity you shouldn’t have to see. The processing itself takes place behind the scenes, but configuration (at least what can’t be determined automatically) requires human interaction. Production PrintKit manages this with an interactive administration utility, KITCP.

KITCP lets you define, modify and display queue configurations. To make this task easier, much of the configuration information is preloaded (for instance, a typical queue configuration requires that you select the queue name, and the printer’s address and model – the software determines details such as communication requirements and printer feature set from its configuration database).

KITCP provides similar capabilities for managing job specifications (document format, media selection, imposition specifications, finishing controls). For production jobs in particular, these can become quite complex. Advance definition of job specifications simplifies the printing process and makes it more reliable.

For printing today and tomorrow

Support for stock printer configurations and standard networking protocols, interoperability with the standard Digital printing interface, compatibility with a range of production printers, and the ability to “plug in” new printer models as they become available – these capabilities contribute to Production PrintKit’s practical flexibility.

The Production PrintKit software enables you to assemble a printing configuration that meets your business needs. And as your needs change, your printing services will be able to keep up.