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What's New in PrintShop Mail Connect 2019.1

Original Author: Colin Casey

Introduction

PrintShop Mail Connect (“Connect”)  2019.1 is the first release for 2019 and whilst it includes hundreds of bug fixes and improvements this article highlights some of the new features  available. For a detailed overview of the new features and enhancements in Connect 2019.1 go over the Release Notes here

Create multilingual Connect templates

A multilingual Connect template can handle content and static text elements in more than one language. Traditionally this is solved by creating a template or section for each language variants. This approach complicates content updates and template maintenance. Alternatively one can create JSON snippets holding the translated strings and create User Scripts to apply these strings to the sections and snippets. This requires you to implement the required scripting logic and in both scenarios there isn’t an optimal workflow to get the strings translated by a translator.

The Translation feature in Connect Designer 2019.1 simplifies this process and introduces options to export translation strings in a standardized file format known by translators and their software. Connect Designer let’s you import translated string files using drag & drop and applies the translations based on the current locale. The locale can be explicitly set for the template or dynamically defined by the value of a data field. The Translation feature also handles pluralization of strings without you having to write a single line of code.

Read the Creating multilingual Connect templates article for more information about this feature.

Script debugger

When developing complex Connect templates the User Scripts typically grow in number and complexity. You may encounter situations where they not always do what you expected them to do. This means you will need to debug the scripts by tracing script execution and figure out the state of local and global variables.

A common technique is to write information to the Messages view using the logger.info() command or to temporarily write information to the section using for example results.after(). This can be a tedious process and requires you to clean up the code after the debug session.

The Script Debugger feature in Connect Designer 2019.1 makes this process way easier and will save you a lot of time. The debugger provides options to step through code (e.g. execute code line by line), add breakpoints to pause execution at strategic points and it shows the state of local and global variables. The main template editor displays the partially merged document up to the point where the script is paused.

Read the Debugging User Scripts article

Misc enhancements to the Template Designer

  • An new option was introduced to disable editing Shared Content items in Design and Preview mode. This prevents the user from accidentally modifying the respective content.
  • Hyperlinks in PDF output can point to locations in the same document (e.g. internal/local links).
  • New barcode symbology: Japan Post Barcode.
  • Copy the location of snippets and images via the contextual menu of the Resource pane, so they can be pasted in scripts to simplify using these resources in scripts.
  • Conditional Scripts now use the ID and classes of an element for it’s selector.

Filtering in Job Creation

Filtering in Job Creation has been enhanced with more features, and its user interface has been overhauled. New
functionality includes:

  • filter content items by number of sheets (instead of pages) – which is better suited for filtering what fits an envelope or inserter machine than using the number of pages,
  • the use of content item properties in filter rules – allowing more flexibility because these properties can be set during content creation, or from Workflow, and they can be set after data mapping has taken place.

The user interface now uses the same rule builder as used for finishing in Job Creation, Dynamic Print Control, and Dynamic AFP metadata.

Output Creation

PDF
New features for PDF output creation can be found on the PDF Options page of the Output Preset/Print Wizard.
These features are explained below.PDF Options

To make room, the user interface for digital signatures was adapted as well.

PDF/A-3 support

Output Creation can now produce PDF/A-3b conforming files. Compared to PDF/A-1, PDF/A-3 allows things like transparency (basically all PDF 1.7 content), reducing the need for conversions (flattening, rasterization), which is good for performance, file size and quality.

 

Miscellaneous Output Creation improvements

PostScript

More control over PPD options

When working with PPD files to dynamically drive PostScript printers, some printers have fragments called Job Patch Files in their PPD, that are required for the printer to function properly. These are now supported. In addition, certain printers require some options to be in very specific locations in order for them to work properly. To support this, the Dynamic PPD rules now has two groups relating specifically to two of these locations: Prolog, and Setup. These rather technical features allow us to support more PostScript printers than before.

Landscape pages

Although one of the most basic printer operations, PostScript allows one to deal with it in different ways, and certain printers are very specific about what they can and can’t handle. To better deal with these situations, the new Rotate landscape pages feature will rotate the page content of landscape pages, and swap their dimensions to make them appear as portrait pages to the printer while still displaying content in the intended orientation.

AFP

Dynamic TLE’s and NOPs in AFP output

Where Connect 2018.1 brought some control over metadata in AFP output, 2019.1 provides the user interface to fully control what metadata goes into an AFP file. Both proper TLE metadata, as well as NOP records (AFP’s flavor of a comment line) are supported and can be triggered conditionally for page groups and pages. This benefits print production with, for instance, selective reprints, and post processing, but also facilitates exchange of print files with other parties, for instance print service providers.

Data Model View

Grouping and sorting the data model
Work more efficiently by personalising your view of the Data Model. Group fields and tables into related sets and subsets, then sort them into any order you want so that important items are at the top of the list, where you can see them instantly, while less important items can be positioned at the bottom. The personalised view can be different in each Config and you can even have a distinct view of the same data model in the Designer.
Find items quickly
Large data mapping configs can be difficult to navigate. With version 2019.1, a filtering option in the Data Model view allows you to quickly search for any field, table or group name.

Miscellaneous

Update Client
To simplify the management of software updates, a new version of the OL Update Client will be released prior to the release of Connect 2019.1. This update will allow you to see exactly to which version of Connect your license entitles you to upgrade and will take care of automatically retrieving and installing a new license for you.

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