TITLE:Pic-Lan Printer Setup

ISSUE:Multi-value Solutions Feb '98

AUTHOR:Nathan Rector

COMPANY:Natec Systems

EMAIL:nater@northcoast.

HTTP:www.northcoast.com/~nater/

Pic-Lan has existed for many years in the Multi-value market. When Pick systems released AP/Pro, they bundled Pic-Lan with it. This allowed native pick users access to network speeds and environments without additional costs.

In addition to bringing DOS and Windows file access and increased terminal emulator speed, Pic-Lan also brings the use of network printers to the Multi-value system. Multi-value users are allowed to access printers that would normally be limited to within the network workgroup.

There are several different types of Pic-Lan printer configurations that can be set up. It depends on the type of network you have. The printer connected to the Multi-value Host can also be set up to be accessed by the network as if it was another network share printer. For the scope of this article I’ll only cover setting up printer that allow the multi-value system to send printer jobs to a networked printer.

The best way to setup Pic-Lan printer is with the DOS Service Gateway. You have the most flexability and easy of use this way. Since the DOS Service Gateway is a DOS or Windows 95/NT program it must be run on either of those platforms.

The Windows 95/NT DOS Service Gateway is multi-tasking and can be run on someone’s workstation, where as the DOS version must be run on a dedicated PC. The Windows 95/NT DOS Service Gateway has the most functionality of the two since it is the most recent.

When you have the DOS Service Gateway running, all that is left is to setup the printer assignments on the Multi-value host. There are several different printer assignment configurations that can be used for different types of network configurations.

Pic-Lan printing was originally designed to work DOS workstations and a Novell network. Since the origins of Pic-Lan, it has grown to include Windows printers with even more ease than the Novell printers. Although, the Novell printer support still exists.

To set up a Windows 95 printer, all that needs to be done is to set the printer as a shared printer on the network and then use the PL-ASSIGN to cause a printer queue to send its information to that printer.

The Syntax to assign printer queue 10 to the an Epson 850 printer on the workstation called MARIE is:

PL-ASSIGN 10=DSG1!//MARIE/EPSON850

Since Pic-Lan allows more than one DOS Service Gateways to be running at any one time, they each must be named. In this example I have the DOS Service Gateway that I plan on using to direct printing called DSG1.

One thing to keep in mind when setting up the DOS Service Gateway -- even though there is the option to have more than one running, only one is needed no matter how many printers or Multi-value host systems you have. There may come a time when the DOS Service Gateway has so much traffic that a second one is needed to process print files, but that would require an extreme amount of traffic.

If the printer that you wish to use is connected to the same machine that the DOS Service Gateway is running on, then the syntax is a little different. Using the Windows version of the DOS Service Gateway, the syntax is as follows:

PL-ASSIGN 10=DSG1!WIN LPT1:

for a printer on LTP1, or

PL-ASSIGN 10=DSG1!WIN COM1:

for a printer on COM1.

When working with the Windows version you can also specify the name of the printer as listed the control panel. For example, on my computer, I have the following printers:

HP 820Cse

HP 1000 Cse

By using these names of the printer, you are able to assign a queue to that printer. This also works if the printer is network printer as well. An example of this is:

PL-ASSIGN 10=DSG1!WIN HP 820Cse

If you have more than one Multi-value host running Pic-Lan you can send print jobs back and forth between these computers. This ability does not use the DOS Service Gateway at all, but it does require the SERVER-PROCESS program to be running in the back ground.

PL-ASSIGN 15=ACCT!5

This causes all the print jobs sent to queue 15 to be transferred to the Pic-Lan computer ACCT and placed in queue 5 on that computer. All options used in the SP-ASSIGN are maintained as much as possible, although there are a few limitations. The options ‘I’ and ‘C’ are not maintained.

The data, time, port, and account name are not maintained either. The date and time becomes the date and time when the jobs was received by the computer the job is to be sent to. The port becomes the part SERVER-PROCESS is currently running on, and the account name will likely be PL-SERVER or which ever account was used to log SERVER-PROCESS on.

To keep the program SERVER-PROCESS from slowing the system down, it is set to check for new print jobs every 5 seconds or so. If you are working with a time critical printing situation, like a cash register, the TCL command PL-KICK-SERVER comes in handy.

PL-KICK-SERVER is used to force the program SERVER-PROCESS to check for any current print jobs. This program should be run after each time critical print job.

As you can see setting up Pic-Lan printers is a simple process. All that is needed is a workstation with a shared printer and the DOS Service Gateway setup and you are ready to start printing on your network printers.