Posts tagged "adobe central"

Central Pro loops during processing

Sometimes you will find that after some edits in your form, or on inclusion of certain data, Central will enter an infinite loop whilst processing pages.

This could have a number of obscure causes, but the most common is this: a combination of incorrect placement of $POSITION field; inappropriate subform size; and Page Full settings configured to conditionally start new pages.

The $POSITION field

When a subform is drawn on the page, the metaphporical drawing head returns to the leftmost part of the printing area, and slightly lower, ready to draw the next subform.

If the subform contains a $POSITION field however, the writing head will start drawing where the position field as, as if that position field were its {0,0} coordinates.

If a $POSITION field is in a JFMAIN page (which serves as the template page for other pages) then it will determine where the start of drawing is located.

The Page Full settings

As subforms are placed on the page, the page fills up, eventually reaching the bottom. Page Full settings can be used to determine when to skip to another page, for example, when there is no more room for a new subform instance, as well as some extra subforms (for example, footers, defined on “At End-Of-Page”).

When the page is full, a new page starts, and the subform that was going to be placed on the previous page is instead placed on the new page. It is important to note that when this is done, the page-full conditions are run again.

The subform size

If a subform is too big for the printing area, it will be truncated at the bottom (print off the bottom of the page) before a new page is started, unless the option “Reserve space for the current subform plus these subforms” option is ticked in the subform’s properties, under Page Full.

If the Reserve Space option is ticked, a new page will be started, and the subform will again be laid down on the page.

Now imagine these scenarios:

a) There is no room on the page for the subform, so a new page is started. The $POSITION field is low enough on the page so that there is still no room for the subform. So a new page is started, where the $POSITION field is again too low.
–> Infinite loop

This often happens when a $POSITION field in a JFMAIN has been moved too low for some reason. Bring the $POSITION field back to the top left corner of the printable area.

b) A large subform whose veritcal size exceeds that of the page is called. A new page is started for the subform, but the page is still too small. So a new page is started, but the page is still too small.
–> Infinite loop

This often happens when either the $POSITION field is set too low, or when the form design was made for the PDF default presentment target (it makes use of the whole page space), but the processing is done for a physical target (for example, a printer), where physical margins reduce the printable area. To correct this, set the default presentment target to be the one with the most restrictive margins (which will show in the design area as dark gray), and only allow items to be as tall as that space (remember to also account for header and footer spaces), and adjust the $POSITION field accordingly.

Many bad pages are printed / data is missing (Central Pro, Output Designer)

When processing a template with data in one environment (in Output Designer for example, or on the development server), the output seems fine; but when the same data and template are tested somewhere else (a different Designer, a different Central server), the reult is that many pages are printed, some blank, some with data in the wrong place, some data lacking.

Solution #1 – the afxon option is not properly specified

This is most likely to be due to a single argument that has been omitted in your processing parameters : “-afxon

From the Print_Ag.pdf documentation file:

To discard data for unknown fields, start Print Agent with the -afxon option.
To place data for an unknown field in the next field on the template, start Print Agent with the
-afxoff option. This is the default.

In Output Designer, these options are set under menu [ Tools : Options : Print options ]. You can add here any number of command line arguments, separated by spaces, that will apply whenever Test Presentment is run.

In Central server, arguments can be placed at two different locations

1) In the Job Management Database

You can access this under [Central install directory]/Server/jfserver.jmd

Note the syntax of the JMD: the list of arguments holds on a single line, enclosed in quote marks. Within this string of characters, double quotes must be escaped by typing two consecutive double quotes.

I posted previously about checking JMD validity – if you have Python 2.x installed, you might want to try out the following: Tamble JMD 0.2a

2) In the data file

You can add arguments in the JOB line of your data file.

If the first line of a data file starts with ^job, the Central engine (if run using Central Control on Windows, or launching the jfdaemon or jfserver on *nix) will take the arguments listed and append them to the ones already extant in the JMD. Since they are applied afterwards, they take precedence.

So if you have an argument -afxoff in your JMD, and you specify -afxon in your JOB line, -afxon will be applied when processing.

Solution #2 – you are using non-SAP compatible templates on a Central activated for SAP data

You may find that the above solution does not seem to apply (but please, test that one first as it is the most likely). In which case, there is a second potential explanation.

Central Pro can be obtained with an SAP adapter which needs to be used with templates specially compiled for this use. To activate this special compilation mode, you need to set the value of the following key to “0″

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Adobe\Output Designer 5.x\5.x\JfDesign\Compile\

Where ‘x’ should be replaced accordingly to correspond to your version of Output Designer. You can see in your problematic template whether the option is already active by looking at the template’s automatically generated preamble – if there are no !FldNotAvail events on the fields, the option is active.

“Invalid options on ^subform command” error (Adobe Central Pro)

Here’s a puzzler that looks strange, but that is easy to solve – once you understand a key difference between dynamic templates and static templates, and how Central loads and unloads tempplates.

Situation:
- You have multiple templates that you want to use for processing data
- You can process each template independantly without troubles (data only uses one template)
- When you call different templates (data uses the ^form command), with some combinations of files, you get the following error:
Invalid options on ^subform command

Reason:
You are mixing dynamic templates with static templates

Fix:
Ensure all your templates are fully dynamic by ensuring all fields exist inside subforms

Explanation:
Some of your forms are dynamic, some of them are static. Dynamic forms are created when fields are wrapped in subforms.

Dynamic forms, when compiled, create an embedded Preamble (see this in Output Designer with Ctrl+R, when a form is open)
Static forms do not.

The preamble is basically a set of variable definitions that get stored to a special global variable area.
Preamble variables call subform definitions, which are effectively the structural parts of the template.

When a template is loaded, preamble data is executed which reference form structures – for example, if you have a field called myfield in a subform called mysub, you will get:

^comment -----------------------------------------------------------------
^comment Subform: (mysub)
^comment -----------------------------------------------------------------
^define group:myfield!FldNotAvail \groupG_mysub\fieldmyfield.
^define group:myfield!FldUsed \groupG_mysub\fieldmyfield.

When a new template is loaded, any pre-existing form structures are flushed from memory (the item referred to by the “\groupG_mysub\fieldmyfield” part) – but the global preamble variables (the “group:myfield!FldNotAvail” part) are not : they cannot be distinguished easily from regular data, so they are kept.

When you load a static form, no preamble data exists to overwrite previous preamble information – in this case, the definitions for myfield field.

When in your data, myfield is called for the static field, the dynamic definition is still in memory, causing it to try and access a non-existing structure – hence the error.

A short term solution would be to wrap myfield into a subform – this will cause a dynamic preamble to be created for it, overwriting the other template’s definition of myfield

Long term, the recommendation is
-when using multiple templates, avoid where possible having fields of the same name, across all templates
-do not mix static templates with dynamic templates – if such a situation arises, convert the static forms to dynamic, by grouping them in the appropriate subforms. Preferably, leave no field out of a subform

Adding a new Presentment Target to Output Designer 5.x (“adding a new printer driver in Central”)

NOTA: this article is not an Adobe publication, and carries no guarantees of accuracy. This article may be subject to change at any time.

Sometimes people incorrectly talk about “printer drivers” when referring to Presentment Targets. Presentment targets are customization profiles that the Print Agent uses to tailor the printer language that is written out from the Print Agent (jfmerge.exe). Unless you have specified the use of Generic Windows Drivers, it is the Print Agent that produces the printing language, without involving the Windows driver (installed to Windows, not Central) installed on the local machine.

PostScript and PCL5 are the two currently most wide spread languages in use on printers at the time of writing. Central also supports ZPL (for Zebra printers), IPL (for Intermec printers) and PCL6 (which works best with Hewlett Packard printers). It can also produce flat PDF 1.4 output.

If your printer does not appear in the list of presentment targets, but does accept one of the supported languages, then you should be able to create a new profile for your printer. The fact that there is a certain list of printers provided out of the box is more to say that these printers are tested, and they are expected to render correctly. If you create a custom profile for a different printer, there is no actual guarantee that it will work.

You can create a new presentment target for your printer. Please note that:

  • fax printers are an exception – only the presentment targets provided out-of-the-box are expected to work with faxing capabilities. There is no sure way to add a different target in this case
  • there is no guarantee to support custom Presentment targets. Custom targets are the creator’s responsibility
  • when using multiple presentment targets for a form design, you must design for the most restrictive layout (the one with the largest margins)

How to add a Presentment target to your list in Output Designer / Editing a Presentment Target

To create a custom target, first find a target that works when used with your printer. This will depend on whether the printer is meant to understand PCL5, PCL6, PostScript, ZPL, IPL

We will assume for the purpose of this article that you have a (theoretical) printer from manufacturer “PrintBrand” and of model “100″. Its short name shall be designated as “PB100″

We further assume that using the HP LaserJet 5 Presentment target produces correct output on the PB100.

The short name of the HP LaserJet 5 presentment target is “hplj5″. The short name can be seen in Output Designer can be seen at the end of a presentment target’s name in the list of presentment targets, accessed from menu File > Presentment targets.

To create a new presentment target “PB100″ based on a pre-existing “HPLJ5″

  1. Open <Program Files location>\Adobe\Output Designer [version]\Config
  2. Locate the hplj5.ics file
  3. Create a copy of hplj5.ics and rename it to pb100.ics – this file name will determine its ID in Designer, and for the -asp processing option
  4. Open pb100.ics in a text editor (e.g. NotePad)
  5. Edit PrinterName and and PrinterDesc as follows:
    PrinterName PB100 ; this is a comment to say it's a PrintBrand 100
    ; comments start with ";" and end with the line
    PrinterDesc My PrintBrand 100 printer
    • PrinterName identifies the printer short name – this should be kept the same as the file name
    • PrinterDesc provides the description seen in the presentment targets list.
  6. Customize any further items you need
    Most items are self-documented in the ICS files.
    You can customize and add page sizes, line heights, etc.
  7. Save the ICS file
  8. In Output Designer, open menu File > Presentment targets…
  9. Select the PrintBrand 100 printer that you have just defined, by ticking the checkbox on its left.
  10. Click the button Font Setup…
  11. Click “OK” to come directly back to the presentment targets. This will re-compile your ICS file for inclusion in future presentment targets. This will not affect MDF files created previously – thise will have to be recompiled to benefit from your changes
  12. Click “OK” to close the Presentment targets window
  13. Use “Test presentment”, or re-compile your form for the changed ICS to take effect.
  14. If afterwards you wish to modify the ICS, or edit an ICS that already exists, repeat steps 4-13

You may have an issue wherein page elements in the output are displaced/moved/in the wrong location when printing to one output device, but appear correctly on another output device, or PDF.

This is because the PDF target has margins of size 0 – this means that a page element is allowed to be printed to any part of a page, even the edge. Some printers impose hard margins on their pages, and page elements cannot appear there, and this is catered for at design time by checking that the form has been designed with the most restrictive margins in mind.

You can change the margin space that JfMerge will take into account in the Presentment Target file.

To see the margins in the design layout, use menu File > Presentment targets and setting the default presentment target. The result is that in the form design, a darker area around the edges of the page will appear, indicating that the current default target has margins set, and no design element should appear there.