What is the state of AFP on the IBM i? Should you consider a new forms solution? We’re receiving a lot of calls expressing concern over IBM dropping support of the AFP Print utility after IBM i OS 7.2.
"IBM® Advanced Function Printing Utilities (5770-AF1) is no longer supported. The last release for IBM Advanced Function Printing Utilities (5770-AF1) was IBM i 7.2." (full statement here)
The AFP print utility will be available on the IBM i, but the technology will be maintained by an outside consortium. This may or may not be reassuring, but we are confident we have a better idea – a much better idea. TLAForms is our software package that allows you to design forms using data from spool files already being produced by your applications. You use a Graphical, WYSIWYG designer to easily design your forms and turn them into full-color, high-quality forms that can be output to any printer, and/or output as a PDF file which can be archived to any network location or automatically emailed. TLAForms is a superior solution to AFP for generating forms, and, as many of our customers have learned, TLAForms is incredibly cost effective!
TLAForms costs $2,995.00. The annual maintenance fee is $695.00.
Compare some of the main features of TLAForms with the IBM i AFP Print Utility.
Print Only to IBM i Printers
Print to Any Printer
Generate Form as a PDF
Archive PDF to any Network Location
Automatically email the PDF
|Color||Black and White||Full Color|
|Design Interface||Green Screen/Program Development
See your Form as you Design It.
|Fonts||Courier Font||Expanded Font Selection|
|Barcodes||Barcodes, Difficult to do 2-Dimensional||Easy - Including 2-Dimensional|
|Overlays||Overlays - Very Cumbersome||Use Design Tools to Create Templates|
|Images||Images and Overlays are Static||Images can be Dynamic – Use an action to determine which image will print|
|Conditioning||Conditioning with Lots of Programming||Conditioning - show or hide items on your form based on certain criteria - ie. page number, or replace data as needed|
|Using IBM i File Data||Already uses data from IBM i files - additional access to IBM i files requires programming||SQL - easily create SQL statements within the designer to access additional IBM i file data.|
|Printer Alignment||Margins vary from printer to printer making alignment frustrating||No more worries about alignment. You can print your form perfectly to any printer.|
|Quality||Average to sub-par quality forms||Outstanding form quality|
|Programming||Programming time - sometimes for highly technical aspects, sometimes for mundane, repetitive, trial and error-type tasks like working with overlays.||NO Programming|
|Cost||Free, but with lots of labor costs for a finished product that looks 'meh'||Low cost, feature-rich, easy to use, outstanding quality, industry recognized technical support|
"I wanted to give you an update. [Our previous forms software] is completely obsoleted. We have migrated off the last form. The PO’s at PHD are now flowing through TLA. Thank you very much for your help. We could not be here without it and TLA is a blessing."
Ed - Fort Wayne, IN - December 20, 2016
Read a Case Study about How Ed uses TLAForms here.
"We just recently went to TL Ashford to handle all our forms. We print checks, invoices, A/R Statements, packing slips & a few others. The software is very easy to learn & very powerful. Highly recommend them as their customer support is top notch. "
Steve - Louisville, OH - June 8, 2015
"I found it so easy, it's not even funny. Anyone who works on a PC could do it."
Angie - Davenport, IL - February 11, 2015