Pick/Windows Faxing (Again)

Pick/Windows Faxing (Again)

Post by Joe » Fri, 21 Sep 2001 02:24:05



Sincerest apologies for beating this dead horse, but I'm under orders
to give it a few more kicks.  I've scoured Google and come up with
some information, but there are still a few pieces in my puzzle that
are missing.

We're looking for a networked (NT) fax solution that can be driven
from both Windows applications and mvBase.  With regards to mvBase,
our goal is simply to be able to spool any existing print job
(including PCL stuff) to the networked fax server by SP-ASSIGNing the
job to the appropriate form queue.  IOW, the fax server would be a
shared NT "printer" that's set up in mvBase as just another printer
and associated form queue.  The only software changes I'd have to make
would be prompting for the addressee and fax number, then stuffing
them into the print job to be interpreted by the fax server.  PCL is
an absolute necessity due to the many forms that are actually "drawn"
on the fly.

I've found several products that may or may not fit our criteria
(ZetaFax, FacSys, RightFax, RespondFax, etc.), but I'm looking for
testimonials, comments, and opinions from those with exposure to any
of these products.  TIA for any and all related comments.

Joe

 
 
 

Pick/Windows Faxing (Again)

Post by Craig Taylor Equipmen » Fri, 21 Sep 2001 03:00:53


Look at VSI-FAX


Quote:> Sincerest apologies for beating this dead horse, but I'm under orders
> to give it a few more kicks.  I've scoured Google and come up with
> some information, but there are still a few pieces in my puzzle that
> are missing.

> We're looking for a networked (NT) fax solution that can be driven
> from both Windows applications and mvBase.  With regards to mvBase,
> our goal is simply to be able to spool any existing print job
> (including PCL stuff) to the networked fax server by SP-ASSIGNing the
> job to the appropriate form queue.  IOW, the fax server would be a
> shared NT "printer" that's set up in mvBase as just another printer
> and associated form queue.  The only software changes I'd have to make
> would be prompting for the addressee and fax number, then stuffing
> them into the print job to be interpreted by the fax server.  PCL is
> an absolute necessity due to the many forms that are actually "drawn"
> on the fly.

> I've found several products that may or may not fit our criteria
> (ZetaFax, FacSys, RightFax, RespondFax, etc.), but I'm looking for
> testimonials, comments, and opinions from those with exposure to any
> of these products.  TIA for any and all related comments.

> Joe


 
 
 

Pick/Windows Faxing (Again)

Post by Jeffrey Kaufma » Fri, 21 Sep 2001 03:54:10


Active Fax (www.actfax.com) works in almost any environment or combination
thereof. It runs on a separate Windows pc, which can be used as a
workstation. You send it the fax document with a bit of scripting just like
you send a report to the printer. And off it goes. You can also hook up
feedback for the status of the fax.

FaxLink works the same way, however they have taken their product off the
market. It seems they bet the business on a proprietary card that is no
longer manufactured.


Quote:> Sincerest apologies for beating this dead horse, but I'm under orders
> to give it a few more kicks.  I've scoured Google and come up with
> some information, but there are still a few pieces in my puzzle that
> are missing.

> We're looking for a networked (NT) fax solution that can be driven
> from both Windows applications and mvBase.  With regards to mvBase,
> our goal is simply to be able to spool any existing print job
> (including PCL stuff) to the networked fax server by SP-ASSIGNing the
> job to the appropriate form queue.  IOW, the fax server would be a
> shared NT "printer" that's set up in mvBase as just another printer
> and associated form queue.  The only software changes I'd have to make
> would be prompting for the addressee and fax number, then stuffing
> them into the print job to be interpreted by the fax server.  PCL is
> an absolute necessity due to the many forms that are actually "drawn"
> on the fly.

> I've found several products that may or may not fit our criteria
> (ZetaFax, FacSys, RightFax, RespondFax, etc.), but I'm looking for
> testimonials, comments, and opinions from those with exposure to any
> of these products.  TIA for any and all related comments.

> Joe

 
 
 

Pick/Windows Faxing (Again)

Post by Don Verhage » Fri, 21 Sep 2001 07:02:43




Quote:> Look at VSI-FAX

I second the VSI*FAX Solution. It's reasonable priced and runs exactly as
you want, as well, as from the command line and 5 client softwares licenses
are provided. Your method specified will comsume 0 client licenses.

Donald Verhagen



> > Sincerest apologies for beating this dead horse, but I'm under orders
> > to give it a few more kicks.  I've scoured Google and come up with
> > some information, but there are still a few pieces in my puzzle that
> > are missing.

> > We're looking for a networked (NT) fax solution that can be driven
> > from both Windows applications and mvBase.  With regards to mvBase,
> > our goal is simply to be able to spool any existing print job
> > (including PCL stuff) to the networked fax server by SP-ASSIGNing the
> > job to the appropriate form queue.  IOW, the fax server would be a
> > shared NT "printer" that's set up in mvBase as just another printer
> > and associated form queue.  The only software changes I'd have to make
> > would be prompting for the addressee and fax number, then stuffing
> > them into the print job to be interpreted by the fax server.  PCL is
> > an absolute necessity due to the many forms that are actually "drawn"
> > on the fly.

> > I've found several products that may or may not fit our criteria
> > (ZetaFax, FacSys, RightFax, RespondFax, etc.), but I'm looking for
> > testimonials, comments, and opinions from those with exposure to any
> > of these products.  TIA for any and all related comments.

> > Joe

 
 
 

Pick/Windows Faxing (Again)

Post by Anthony W. Youngma » Fri, 21 Sep 2001 18:08:24


We don't do things the way you do, but I've found Zetafax (what we use)
to be very flexible. I know I could set it up pretty much the way you
want. Bearing in mind you're running NT, do you have the mvBase *server*
running on the *same* pc as the client? If not (as is likely) you may
have serious grief getting ANY fax software to configure directly as a
printer.

My approach would be to spool to a hold file, and then "submit" a fax
job. You just create a text control file, dump it into a folder that
Zetafax is watching, and off goes the fax. You could also tell it to
email a given user with the job status...

-----Original Message-----

Posted At: 19 September 2001 18:24
Posted To: pick
Conversation: Pick/Windows Faxing (Again)
Subject: Pick/Windows Faxing (Again)

Sincerest apologies for beating this dead horse, but I'm under orders
to give it a few more kicks.  I've scoured Google and come up with
some information, but there are still a few pieces in my puzzle that
are missing.

We're looking for a networked (NT) fax solution that can be driven
from both Windows applications and mvBase.  With regards to mvBase,
our goal is simply to be able to spool any existing print job
(including PCL stuff) to the networked fax server by SP-ASSIGNing the
job to the appropriate form queue.  IOW, the fax server would be a
shared NT "printer" that's set up in mvBase as just another printer
and associated form queue.  The only software changes I'd have to make
would be prompting for the addressee and fax number, then stuffing
them into the print job to be interpreted by the fax server.  PCL is
an absolute necessity due to the many forms that are actually "drawn"
on the fly.

I've found several products that may or may not fit our criteria
(ZetaFax, FacSys, RightFax, RespondFax, etc.), but I'm looking for
testimonials, comments, and opinions from those with exposure to any
of these products.  TIA for any and all related comments.

Joe

 
 
 

Pick/Windows Faxing (Again)

Post by Gile » Sat, 22 Sep 2001 01:58:50


Anthony's approch is similar to ours...

We have a Canon ir330 photocopyer/printer/fax.  This machine has it's
own hard drive to spool print and fax jobs. We usually use a
parallel/serial converter to sent it print jobs from pick but for
faxing we let ViaDuct handle the windows print and fax drivers though
our network. We just send jobs to the fax driver and forget about it
but thats a $18000 all in one solution.


> We don't do things the way you do, but I've found Zetafax (what we use)
> to be very flexible. I know I could set it up pretty much the way you
> want. Bearing in mind you're running NT, do you have the mvBase *server*
> running on the *same* pc as the client? If not (as is likely) you may
> have serious grief getting ANY fax software to configure directly as a
> printer.

> My approach would be to spool to a hold file, and then "submit" a fax
> job. You just create a text control file, dump it into a folder that
> Zetafax is watching, and off goes the fax. You could also tell it to
> email a given user with the job status...

> -----Original Message-----

> Posted At: 19 September 2001 18:24
> Posted To: pick
> Conversation: Pick/Windows Faxing (Again)
> Subject: Pick/Windows Faxing (Again)

> Sincerest apologies for beating this dead horse, but I'm under orders
> to give it a few more kicks.  I've scoured Google and come up with
> some information, but there are still a few pieces in my puzzle that
> are missing.

> We're looking for a networked (NT) fax solution that can be driven
> from both Windows applications and mvBase.  With regards to mvBase,
> our goal is simply to be able to spool any existing print job
> (including PCL stuff) to the networked fax server by SP-ASSIGNing the
> job to the appropriate form queue.  IOW, the fax server would be a
> shared NT "printer" that's set up in mvBase as just another printer
> and associated form queue.  The only software changes I'd have to make
> would be prompting for the addressee and fax number, then stuffing
> them into the print job to be interpreted by the fax server.  PCL is
> an absolute necessity due to the many forms that are actually "drawn"
> on the fly.

> I've found several products that may or may not fit our criteria
> (ZetaFax, FacSys, RightFax, RespondFax, etc.), but I'm looking for
> testimonials, comments, and opinions from those with exposure to any
> of these products.  TIA for any and all related comments.

> Joe

 
 
 

Pick/Windows Faxing (Again)

Post by Robert A. Catalan » Sat, 22 Sep 2001 05:47:25


ViaDuct 2000 has two API's that work with WinFax.  The WinFax integration
program can be used in two different fashions: from the command line, or as
a callable subroutine.  When used as a callable subroutine, you can choose
to either fax immediately (by calling VTW.FAX), or at a later date or time
(by calling VTW.DELAYED.FAX).  In all cases, you can specify the name of a
host file and item you wish to fax.  You can download an evaluation copy of
ViaDuct 2000 at www.via.com

Robert Catalano
Via Systems, Inc.
Tel: (719) 579-6800


Quote:> Sincerest apologies for beating this dead horse, but I'm under orders
> to give it a few more kicks.  I've scoured Google and come up with
> some information, but there are still a few pieces in my puzzle that
> are missing.

> We're looking for a networked (NT) fax solution that can be driven
> from both Windows applications and mvBase.  With regards to mvBase,
> our goal is simply to be able to spool any existing print job
> (including PCL stuff) to the networked fax server by SP-ASSIGNing the
> job to the appropriate form queue.  IOW, the fax server would be a
> shared NT "printer" that's set up in mvBase as just another printer
> and associated form queue.  The only software changes I'd have to make
> would be prompting for the addressee and fax number, then stuffing
> them into the print job to be interpreted by the fax server.  PCL is
> an absolute necessity due to the many forms that are actually "drawn"
> on the fly.

> I've found several products that may or may not fit our criteria
> (ZetaFax, FacSys, RightFax, RespondFax, etc.), but I'm looking for
> testimonials, comments, and opinions from those with exposure to any
> of these products.  TIA for any and all related comments.

> Joe

 
 
 

Pick/Windows Faxing (Again)

Post by Dave Patters » Sat, 22 Sep 2001 15:31:04


I'm loathed to confuse the situation any further but...

HHH use a cheep fax module that accepts entries via SMTP. Rather than
spooling the faxes, they mail them. I don't think they have an elegant
feedback path for the fax status but they pump through a stack of
faxes each day and it never seemed to cause too much grief for the
sysadmin crew. Unfortunately I can't remember what it was called. I'm
sure somebody at HHH could remind us.

Dave Patterson.


> Sincerest apologies for beating this dead horse, but I'm under orders
> to give it a few more kicks.  I've scoured Google and come up with
> some information, but there are still a few pieces in my puzzle that
> are missing.

> We're looking for a networked (NT) fax solution that can be driven
> from both Windows applications and mvBase.  With regards to mvBase,
> our goal is simply to be able to spool any existing print job
> (including PCL stuff) to the networked fax server by SP-ASSIGNing the
> job to the appropriate form queue.  IOW, the fax server would be a
> shared NT "printer" that's set up in mvBase as just another printer
> and associated form queue.  The only software changes I'd have to make
> would be prompting for the addressee and fax number, then stuffing
> them into the print job to be interpreted by the fax server.  PCL is
> an absolute necessity due to the many forms that are actually "drawn"
> on the fly.

> I've found several products that may or may not fit our criteria
> (ZetaFax, FacSys, RightFax, RespondFax, etc.), but I'm looking for
> testimonials, comments, and opinions from those with exposure to any
> of these products.  TIA for any and all related comments.

> Joe

 
 
 

Pick/Windows Faxing (Again)

Post by Joe » Sat, 22 Sep 2001 22:12:36


Many thanks to all who replied with comments, suggestions, etc.  We're
still undecided as to which way we'll go, but at least we've now got
enough information to make an informed decision.

One last question: Does anyone know for sure if ZetaFax will handle
PCL output?  Again, TIA.

Joe

 
 
 

Pick/Windows Faxing (Again)

Post by Mike Woodin » Sun, 23 Sep 2001 01:12:47



Quote:> Many thanks to all who replied with comments, suggestions,
> etc.  We're still undecided as to which way we'll go, but at
> least we've now got enough information to make an informed
> decision.
> One last question: Does anyone know for sure if ZetaFax
> will handle PCL output?  Again, TIA.

It all depends on what you mean by "handle". :-)

Assuming you're using the API, then you can achieve virtually anything you
want because you can write the necessary C code to interface directly to the
ZetaFax server.

If you were thinking of including PCL commands within the file that you're
going to print to the ZetaFax printer (i.e. going through the Windows
spooler), then there shouldn't be a problem as the printing process will
convert the PCL code into a TIF image automatically.

However, assuming that you either weren't thinking of going as far as
writing you own C code, and sending the PCL output via the Windows spooler
isn't an option, then I'm reasonably sure that just including PCL codes
within the text document you're writing to the ZSUBMIT folder won't work
"just like that".  (The ZSUBMIT process will just see the PCL codes as
"text" and include them within the outgoing fax without interpreting them!)

If including PCL within the outgoing fax is a "must have", yet you don't
want to go as far as writing your own C code to do this and you can't send
the PCL code via the windows spooler, then I would suggest that you look at
some third party software which will turn your PCL output into an image of
some description (ZetaFax supports most major image formats) which you can
then add to the outgoing fax as a background.

I've just had a quick look in Google and there appear to be quite literally
hundreds of programs to do just that (most seem to want to output as a TIF
which is probably best from Zetafax's POV).

So, in summary, I doubt you'd have too much trouble achieving the end
result, you might just need to include an extra step you didn't initially
consider.

Why don't you download an evaluation of ZetaFax and have a play?  I don't
think an eval copy will include the API as standard, but if you need it to
evaluate the suitability of the product (and I suggest you will if you're
thinking along the above lines) I reckon that if you contact them, they'll
activate it for you.

HTH

Regards

Mike Wooding

 
 
 

Pick/Windows Faxing (Again)

Post by Joe » Sun, 23 Sep 2001 03:18:07





> > Many thanks to all who replied with comments, suggestions,
> > etc.  We're still undecided as to which way we'll go, but at
> > least we've now got enough information to make an informed
> > decision.

> > One last question: Does anyone know for sure if ZetaFax
> > will handle PCL output?  Again, TIA.

> It all depends on what you mean by "handle". :-)

Ah, good point, Mike.  :)  I'm really trying to find out if ZetaFax
has native file imaging.  If I feed it a file with embedded PCL codes
(just like I'd submit to a laser printer), will the resulting fax look
like the laser-printed version?

Quote:> Assuming you're using the API, then you can achieve virtually
anything you
> want because you can write the necessary C code to interface
directly to the
> ZetaFax server.

> If you were thinking of including PCL commands within the file that
you're
> going to print to the ZetaFax printer (i.e. going through the
Windows
> spooler), then there shouldn't be a problem as the printing process
will
> convert the PCL code into a TIF image automatically.

I wonder if this would be true for the mvBase printer that's really
assigned to the fax server.

Quote:> However, assuming that you either weren't thinking of going as far
as
> writing you own C code, and sending the PCL output via the Windows
spooler
> isn't an option, then I'm reasonably sure that just including PCL
codes
> within the text document you're writing to the ZSUBMIT folder won't
work
> "just like that".  (The ZSUBMIT process will just see the PCL codes
as
> "text" and include them within the outgoing fax without interpreting

them!)

If there's no native file imaging in ZetaFax, then I'd totally agree
with you.

Quote:> If including PCL within the outgoing fax is a "must have", yet you
don't
> want to go as far as writing your own C code to do this and you
can't send
> the PCL code via the windows spooler, then I would suggest that you
look at
> some third party software which will turn your PCL output into an
image of
> some description (ZetaFax supports most major image formats) which
you can
> then add to the outgoing fax as a background.

The plot thickens...

Quote:> I've just had a quick look in Google and there appear to be quite
literally
> hundreds of programs to do just that (most seem to want to output as
a TIF
> which is probably best from Zetafax's POV).

> So, in summary, I doubt you'd have too much trouble achieving the
end
> result, you might just need to include an extra step you didn't
initially
> consider.

> Why don't you download an evaluation of ZetaFax and have a play?  I
don't
> think an eval copy will include the API as standard, but if you need
it to
> evaluate the suitability of the product (and I suggest you will if
you're
> thinking along the above lines) I reckon that if you contact them,
they'll
> activate it for you.

> HTH

> Regards

> Mike Wooding

Mike, thanks very much for your comments.  If and when I get the time
to play with it, I'll do exactly as you suggested.  The only problem
is that my inbox is about a mile high...

Joe

 
 
 

Pick/Windows Faxing (Again)

Post by Mike Woodin » Sun, 23 Sep 2001 10:21:02



Quote:> > It all depends on what you mean by "handle". :-)
> Ah, good point, Mike.  :)

I like to think that I have my moments.  Perhaps, not as often as I'd like,
but they do happen from time to time. :-)

Quote:> I'm really trying to find out if ZetaFax
> has native file imaging.  If I feed it a file
> with embedded PCL codes (just like I'd
> submit to a laser printer), will the resulting
> fax look like the laser-printed version?

Not wishing to labour a point, (even though you said it was a "good" one),
but it depends on what you mean by "feed". :-)

<FX: Deep breath>
Obviously, I do not know exactly what you have in mind so I cannot give an
absolute answer but I would say that if you have an existing program which
creates a printed page exactly how you want it, then you *should* simply
need to add a few extra lines to the top of the document for the addressing
details and send the resultant output to the ZetaFax printer instead of the
laser you're using at the moment and Robert is your father's brother.

(I think you'll require "embedded addressing" support which comes as part of
the API toolkit IIRC.)

Quote:> If there's no native file imaging in ZetaFax, then I'd totally agree
> with you.

Since my original post, I've taken the liberty of checking with Equisys tech
support and their "official" answer is:

"ASCII, BMP, DCX, EPS bitmaps, Epson FX and LQ Series, GIF, JPEG, PCX, PICT,
Targa, TIFF and 'other' file formats are supported."

When prompted, she couldn't really expand on which "other" file format are
supported, but she did add "any file format may be sent as a fax by printing
from the application that created it.".

Reading between the lines, (and from what I remember), the file formats
listed above can all be "included" in an outgoing fax by simply adding a
"%%FILE (Filename (with path))" at the relevant point.  (An outgoing fax can
contain any number of "%%FILE" inclusions.)

If you want to use a file format that isn't listed there, then print it from
the application concerned and use embedded addressing.  If your chosen
flavour of MV supports ODBC then that might be the way to go anyway as you
can do everything from within the "application".

Quote:> The plot thickens...

Well, I suppose that's why clients pay folks like us to solve their problems
for them. ;o)

Quote:> Mike, thanks very much for your comments.

No problem.  Glad I was able to help, (assuming I have helped?).

Quote:> If and when I get the time to play with it,
> I'll do exactly as you suggested.

If and when you get the time, if you feel I can help further, please do not
hesitate to ask either in CDP or directly via e-mail.

Quote:> The only problem
> is that my inbox is about a mile high...

You can swap it for mine if you like.  No clues as to how high mine is
before you make your decision though... ;o)

Regards

Mike Wooding

 
 
 

Pick/Windows Faxing (Again)

Post by Joe » Sun, 23 Sep 2001 23:52:20





> > > It all depends on what you mean by "handle". :-)

> > Ah, good point, Mike.  :)

> I like to think that I have my moments.  Perhaps, not as often as I'd like,
> but they do happen from time to time. :-)

I usually get into some kind of trouble when I have my "moments".  ;)

Quote:> > I'm really trying to find out if ZetaFax
> > has native file imaging.  If I feed it a file
> > with embedded PCL codes (just like I'd
> > submit to a laser printer), will the resulting
> > fax look like the laser-printed version?

> Not wishing to labour a point, (even though you said it was a "good" one),
> but it depends on what you mean by "feed". :-)

<eyes rolling>

Quote:> <FX: Deep breath>
> Obviously, I do not know exactly what you have in mind so I cannot give an
> absolute answer but I would say that if you have an existing program which
> creates a printed page exactly how you want it, then you *should* simply
> need to add a few extra lines to the top of the document for the addressing
> details and send the resultant output to the ZetaFax printer instead of the
> laser you're using at the moment and Robert is your father's brother.

> (I think you'll require "embedded addressing" support which comes as part of
> the API toolkit IIRC.)

> > If there's no native file imaging in ZetaFax, then I'd totally agree
> > with you.

> Since my original post, I've taken the liberty of checking with Equisys tech
> support and their "official" answer is:

> "ASCII, BMP, DCX, EPS bitmaps, Epson FX and LQ Series, GIF, JPEG, PCX, PICT,
> Targa, TIFF and 'other' file formats are supported."

> When prompted, she couldn't really expand on which "other" file format are
> supported, but she did add "any file format may be sent as a fax by printing
> from the application that created it.".

This sounds interesting.  I guess your interest was piqued also, Mike,
as you actually made the call.  ;)

Quote:> Reading between the lines, (and from what I remember), the file formats
> listed above can all be "included" in an outgoing fax by simply adding a
> "%%FILE (Filename (with path))" at the relevant point.  (An outgoing fax can
> contain any number of "%%FILE" inclusions.)

> If you want to use a file format that isn't listed there, then print it from
> the application concerned and use embedded addressing.  If your chosen
> flavour of MV supports ODBC then that might be the way to go anyway as you
> can do everything from within the "application".

> > The plot thickens...

> Well, I suppose that's why clients pay folks like us to solve their problems
> for them. ;o)

Another good point!

Quote:> > Mike, thanks very much for your comments.

> No problem.  Glad I was able to help, (assuming I have helped?).

Indeed.

Quote:> > If and when I get the time to play with it,
> > I'll do exactly as you suggested.

> If and when you get the time, if you feel I can help further, please do not
> hesitate to ask either in CDP or directly via e-mail.

Again, thanks for the offer.  I might take you up on it when I get the
time to tinker with it.

Quote:> > The only problem
> > is that my inbox is about a mile high...

> You can swap it for mine if you like.  No clues as to how high mine is
> before you make your decision though... ;o)

> Regards

> Mike Wooding

Can you see over the top of it?

Joe