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How do I automatically convert a network print job to PDF and store to a location?

Posted on 2009-05-08
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
Hello experts,

INPUT
I have a proprietary application running on a Sun system which is connected to our network.  I have no knowledge of the system other than it serves as a database imaging system which can output images to network plotters (or printers).  The proprietary system has been created to dispense network print jobs to port 9100 (I believe that's HP's JetDirect default port) and is extremely inflexible however it works very well.  I do not have access to this system other than to add printers.

OUTPUT
My goal is to dispense PDF files from this system (rather than paper print jobs).

PROCESS GUIDELINES
I'm looking for a way (product, method, etc) to put a PDF creator on my network that will accept incoming print jobs from the proprietary system and store them in predetermined location(s).  No options required.  Just take the print job and change it into a PDF that is stored on the network.

OTHER INFORMATION
I have a virtualized Windows 2003 Server and several Windows XP clients on this network.  If need be I can add a different platform on the VM server to process jobs.


Constructive advice or suggestions appreciated.  Thank you.
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Question by:KlickSuperfly
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11 Comments
 
LVL 10

Accepted Solution

by:
lanboyo earned 200 total points
ID: 24338117
There are several pay packages for this solution.

Setting a print queue on TCP port 9100 is called "Standard TCP/IP port printing" (Windows 2000 and up) .  Usually 9100 is for control, and 515 is used for print jobs, but hp supports raw port queueing on tcp port 9100.

There are many print to pdf applications. Install one and share the "printer" with "Standard TCP/IP port printing" .

I have mad a similiar print to pdf solution using a linux server. I can provide details if you wish.
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Assisted Solution

by:noycesauce
noycesauce earned 100 total points
ID: 24338221
http://www.print-driver.com/
this might be what you're looking for
0
 

Author Comment

by:KlickSuperfly
ID: 24339504
As it turns out we have a couple of options on how to set up the printer path on the proprietary system.  Should I choose RAW format to print to either of these solutions?
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LVL 16

Assisted Solution

by:DansDadUK
DansDadUK earned 200 total points
ID: 24353390
The port merely identifies the 'transport' method - i.e. HOW to get the print file from the sending system to the printer.

It says nothing, as such, about the contents of the transported data  - e.g. what format it is in.

If your proprietary system is sending print jobs to printers, or plotters, then the format of the received data must be something that these devices can understand.

Most (not all) LaserJet printers understand the three traditional Page Description Languages (PDLs) - these are:

PCL5 (modern variants are PCL5e for monochrome devices, and PCL5c for colour devices).
PCL6 (official name is PCL XL)
PostScript (sometimes referred to as PS).

Plotters may understand PostScript, or PCL5, but possibly only understand HP-GL/2 (the vector graphics subset of PCL5).

Whichever it is, if you can't change WHAT the proprietary system sends, then you'll need to obtain software which can convert from that format to PDF.
There are a number of available converters (e.g. SwiftConvert for PCL5-->PDF), but none of these provides 'perfect' conversion.

Sun systems (being a *n*x variant) probably use model scripts, or equivalent (depending on spooler - S5, BSD, CUPS, etc.) to convert the original document from the source application (Word, Excel, proprietary, etc.) to the required target PDL.
0
 

Author Comment

by:KlickSuperfly
ID: 24355124
I've been told that the output is "PCL5 compatible" (no word on PCL5c or PCL5e).  We're still testing and trying to see if we can simply map a network printer (IE suggestions from lanboyo and noycesauce).

I'll post when we know more.  Thanks to all for the suggestions up until this point!
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:michko
ID: 24358395
As long as you can direct the print job to a specific printer, CutePDF should do the trick.  www.cutepdf.com  I've used it for a few years and it does a very good job of converting documents to .pdf.  In order to bypass the "Save As" dialogue box, you'll have to purchase their Cute PDF Writer (the freeware version will not bypass that dialogue box).  http://www.cutepdf.com/Products/CutePDF/writer.asp

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Expert Comment

by:DansDadUK
ID: 24363771
But (as far as I can see) you can't install CutePDF on the Sun (to interface with the proprietary application & document), because it's a Windows application.
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:michko
ID: 24363792
You are most certainly right - I just went right past the Sun server in the question.

Could install CutePDF on a Windows machine and share it out as a network printer - their Writer version will allow that also.
0
 

Author Comment

by:KlickSuperfly
ID: 24392294
Right now we're testing a mix of noycesauce and lanboyo's suggestions by installing the Universal Document Converter 'virtual printer' as a shared printer on the Windows server box.

Unfortunately we're experiencing a huge delay in the creation of the printer path on the Sun box because some critical people are on holidays.

I've tested by mapping the printer to a Ubuntu box that we have on the system and the print job worked perfectly: one PDF file in the output folder on the Windows server.

Now we just need to see how the Sun box handles shipping the job to this printer.  I've used CutePDF in the past and am a fan of it but decided to live dangerously and try something new.  Impressive software so far but whether or not it suits our needs remains to be seen.

Thanks to everyone who has replied thus far.
0
 

Author Closing Comment

by:KlickSuperfly
ID: 31579520
Thank you for your contribution to solving my printing issue.  I appreciate your time and attention.

Cheers
0
 

Author Comment

by:KlickSuperfly
ID: 24467180
Thank you to everyone who posted their ideas here about this problem.  We have yet to be able to test any of these solutions due to internal issues with personnel scheduling however the points go to the submitters with the ideas that seem to hold the most promise (rationally speaking).
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