CIB print (ActiveX) - at last you can print from the Internet with the corresponding quality
ActiveX is a technology which was launched by Microsoft. It has been on the market for quite some time and is highly promising in its features.
Since the middle of 2000, an ActiveX version of CIB print has also been available. How does the new version work, what new possibilities result and what are the limitations of the application?
To a certain extent, the print quality of HTML pages from an Internet browser is "a matter of luck" - every browser type displays the Internet pages slightly differently and every connected printer renders them differently again. The structure and logic of the HTML language used for screen display in the World Wide Web mean that a qualitatively superior printout is an excessive demand. The printing out of documents from the Internet in the appropriate quality is thus usually controlled using a download version of the texts. These are then opened and printed out with an add-on program, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader for PDF format or a word processor program.
With the realization of CIB print as an ActiveX component, a new and highly convenient alternative is now available: Here, the printout in the best corresponding quality can be realized directly from the default browser. For this purpose, the browser must support the ActiveX technology. This functionality is a standard feature of Microsoft's current Internet Explorer 5.0 whereas the Netscape Navigator requires an additional plug-in for it.
The functionality is very simple: The items to be printed are (additionally) made available on the Internet server in RTF format. The texts and pages can be updated in RTF and, for congruent rendering in the Internet, can be converted automatically to HTML format using the CIB r2h converter. Thus, only one document source needs to be maintained. If a user now wishes to print the document displayed on the screen, then he/she only has to press the Print button which was set up on the HTML page especially for this purpose. The browser verifies whether the CIB print ActiveX component is already installed on the user's computer. If that is not the case, the CIB print ActiveX is installed on the computer subject to a testimony of understanding from the user.
If the ActiveX component is already installed, then it is only called.
From this moment on, the locally installed CIB print interprets the RTF document and pre-processes it for the desired printer in the best corresponding quality. Because the CIB print ActiveX component is integrated via the HTML page and runs in the background, no further program needs to be started. The ActiveX component can access the complete functionality of the operating system and operates as a locally installed program at a very high speed even for subsequent printouts from the Internet.
The ActiveX standard can only be used on 32-bit Windows operating systems, i.e. commencing from Win 95 and NT.
In standard practice, this yields very interesting possibilities:
Application forms from the insurance or banking sectors can thus for example be placed in the Internet and printed out from there. In this way, in just a few minutes, the customer has access to application forms which are true representations of the originals available from the business locations. The confidential data are not sent via the Internet and can be put down on paper in the usual way and sent without any curtailment of the high quality requirements placed on the layout.
In combination with CIB dialog and CIB merge, the forms can also be completed either fully or partly online and then merged on the Internet server for print pre-processing. The finished print file can then be printed out at home with the completed application form. The merged data can also be saved for further utilization in existing administration systems, databases or other applications.
It is planned to offer the CIB print ActiveX component on the Internet free of charge to the end user. The providers of the pages will license it subject to charging.