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PrintShop Mail Connect 2019.2 new features summary

By Colin Casey

Introduction

OL Connect 2019.2 is a very special version because it includes some new features that can’t be seen, yet have huge value for partners and customers. To help pursue new markets we have improved our ability to sign PDFs. We’ve simplified scheduling and template design .

 

 

PDF Signing

We have overhauled OL Connect’s functionality for digitally signing PDF. This will now properly support signing certificates on secure devices such as USB tokens, and HSM’s. This enables applying digital signatures for use cases where regulations require secure storage of the certificate.

Scheduling settings simplified, improved, and basically replaced

When deploying OL Connect, many users have to adjust the Scheduling preferences in the Connect Server Configuration. This has proved to be a daunting task for many. With version 2019.2, we are changing this. In fact,many users will never again have to bother with these preferences.

The user interface has been greatly simplified: the number of Connect Server settings has gone down from 27 to 13, and the settings that remain have less dependencies. For Connect Designer there is only 1 setting left! The result is much cleaner and more intelligible. We have also added presets to make the most basic use cases a complete no-brainer.

The improvements are more than skin deep: Connect Server will now automatically determine how many engines participate in Content Creation, and also dynamically reassign engines to other tasks if desired. This results in a better utilization of computing power, keeping all engines busy when there is enough work, while large tasks don’t have to block other tasks. For Output Creation, the licensed speed limit is automatically distributed over multiple tasks when they run at the same time, and also adjusted as tasks finish and start. Users control the distribution of the licensed speed by setting a target speed in pages per minute; speed units have disappeared, and are no longer a concern for anyone.

Out of the box, OL Connect will also match its engine setup better with the hardware it is running on, typically giving better performance for a fresh installation.

In summary, dealing with scheduling settings is now a thing of the past (literally, we renamed the preference page to “Parallel Processing”), and only users who have a mixed workload with parallel running tasks need to go beyond choosing a preset.

Designer

Import template resources

A common challenge for template designers is to import design elements from existing templates. It can be a time-consuming task to extract resources like stylesheets, snippets and images from one template and add them to another.

The Import Resources… option located in the File menu provides an easy way to append design elements. The option let’s you import typical resources like images, snippets and stylesheets and allows the import of media, master pages, sections and user scripts. A real time-saver.

Dynamic section backgrounds

Let’s assume you have a folder with several postcard designs and a matching data file containing recipient information along with their favorite travel destination. How would you create a personalized document with the respective design in the background? The Dynamic Section Background let’s you create such documents in a breeze.

Set one of the images as the section background, this provides the location for the other images to the wizard. Either add the designs to the Images folder of your template or use them from a folder on disk. Load your data file. Now right mouse click the section in the Resources panel and choose Dynamic Background… The wizard automatically extracts the location of the initial background image and let’s you construct the dynamic path. All you need to do is the specify the data field holding the base name of the images and off you go.

Pre-sorting CSV-type data

Pre-sorting of CSV-type data ensures that the data can be processed in a specific order, without having to go through the entire file, making the process significantly faster.

Misc Designer changes

  • Save a copy of your Template or DataMapping configuration. This creates an exact copy of your config somewhere on your computer (a sort of manual backup). In Connect Designer you’ll continue working on the current config. This option also allows you to save the copy in an older version of OL Connect (e.g. down saving).
  • Automatically generate a Plain Text content for email messages. HTML-only emails could be a red flag for spam filters, with a plain text alternative this is less likely to happen.
  • Dragging and dropping a JSON or HTML snippet in the script editor automatically inserts the accompanying script commands (loadhtml() or loadjson()) and sets the path the dropped resource.
  • It is now possible to change the content of a master page or section in Post Pagination script. This allows for conditional modifications before the merge process starts.
  • Various improvements are made to the Script Debugger: mark occurrences, drill into query results, incremental find and more.
  • Saving a SASS partial file now auto compiles root level .scss files.

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