Win2PDF Report Server for Legacy Reporting Applications

We’ve recently added new capabilities to our Win2PDF Terminal Server Edition (TSE) software that allows it to be used with legacy applications that were originally designed to create paper reports.

What do we mean by legacy reporting applications? In this context, what we are referring to is a class of (typically) older software programs that sent text or special printing data directly to a dedicated paper printer. Essentially, these reporting applications would stream the data directly to a laser printer connected to the local area network, and the paper printer would print whatever information was sent.

“Now more than ever, with employees working remotely or from home, it’s important for companies to adapt their interfaces to legacy programs so that the reports can be captured and shared electronically as PDF files.”

The new Win2PDF Report Server component of Win2PDF TSE does the following:

  1. Creates a dedicated copy of the Win2PDF printer named Win2PDF Report Server
  2. Installs a Windows AppSocket Service that uses the AppSocket printing protocol, also known as Port 9100, JetDirect, or RAW printing mode. The service accepts print data from a legacy application and then routes it to the Win2PDF Report Server application installed on the server*.
  3. Installs a console monitor program called the Win2PDF Report Server. This program is added to the startup folder and takes data routed from the Win2PDF Appsocket Server and converts it to PDF using the Win2PDF Report Server printer.

* Note: The Win2PDF Report Server has the capability to support additional printing protocols based on need. If you have an application that relies on a protocol other than AppSocket, let us know and we can provide more information.

The Win2PDF Report Server currently accepts data in text or Printer Control Language (PCL) format, and the created PDF can be named and saved on the customer’s network using any of the numerous Win2PDF Auto-name options.

If you have a need for this type of PDF reporting solution for legacy applications, contact [email protected] for more details.

Working From Home Using Terminal Servers

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus and COVID-19, we’re seeing more interest in the use of terminal servers in many enterprise environments. This article from Citrix, for example, gives an overview of this shift in workplace culture that many companies are now exploring.

If you’re not familiar with the term, a terminal server is essentially a central server that hosts applications, files and shared resources like printers (virtual or physical), and then shares these programs and resources over a local network or over the internet to “terminals” (sometimes called “thin clients”). Since the applications are all loaded on just one server, it allows remote users (in this case we think of work-from-home terminals or computers) to run the business programs they need without having anything required on the local machine.

One enormous advantage to this type of solution is that the remote work-at-home “terminals” can be practically anything — home PCs, Windows laptops, Apple iMacs or Macbooks, iPads, Tablets, etc. Each work-at-home terminal would simply run applications from the server and be able to print on the server. The business doesn’t need to worry about each individual client’s hardware, operating system, or local program availability.

This is where our Win2PDF Terminal Server Edition (TSE) comes into play, as a way to share and view documents remotely. Win2PDF TSE is the same as our desktop Win2PDF software (it has the exact same interface and features), but it has been adapted for a server-based, multi-user environment. It allows remote workers working from any work-at-home terminal to access company software programs and then create PDF files that can be saved on the server or on a local PC client, printed to a network drive or hard-copy printer, or e-mailed to a group of recipients. After you install Win2PDF TSE on the server, it is automatically available as an available printer to all published applications on the server.

There are a variety of solutions that handle this type of terminal server deployment that are available from companies like Microsoft, Citrix, and many others. They use slightly different terms (i.e., Microsoft calls terminal services “Remote Desktop Services” and terminal servers “Remote Desktop Session Hosts“) and product names, but they work in the same general way.

If your company is considering Terminal Server deployments and wondering about PDF solutions for remote workers, download the trial version of Win2PDF TSE and let us know if you have any questions. Win2PDF TSE is licensed ‘per server’, and each server can support unlimited numbers of users or clients at no additional cost. Volume pricing for multiple servers or server farms is available as well.