Catapult is a PC and iSeries Client/Server application used to automatically distribute iSeries spool files or PC files to one or more users. Reports can be formatted as PDF, RTF, HTML, TXT, PCL or even as an XLS spread sheet and may be emailed, printed, faxed or archived to any network drive. It can also auto-file and auto-index reports and documents to the web into organized folders in the FREE* Nexus ECM (Enterprise Content Management) including the ability to automatically create unlimited search indexes based on content in the document such as PO number.
Catapult includes everything needed in a complete report management solution for administrating, parsing, formatting, distributing and archiving spooled files, documents and reports. It also supports adding graphical form overlays for professional looking reports. Catapult interfaces with EZ-Pickin's, BCD's Report Mining tool, to automatically extract data into Excel, Access, MS-Word and more.
Catapult supports very flexible spool file selection options, allowing you to decide which iSeries spool files qualify to be distributed by defining 'Grab rules'. In your Catapult grab rule you can establish selection criteria based on user id, job name, spool file name, forms type, user data value, output queue name, or any combination of these. The grab rule also includes all the additional processing options you want to associate with the file: email address to send to, path to save to, split criteria, conversion options (PDF, RTF, TIF, etc), compression, and so on.
A polling program runs in predetermined cycles on the iSeries, looking for new entries in output queues that qualify for selection based on the grab rules you have defined. When a file is found, it is immediately processed and downloaded to the Catapult server machine, and distributed according to the criteria in your grab rule.
When a spool file is selected by Catapult, it can be stored as a PC file anywhere on your network, e-mailed to one or more e-mail addresses, faxed or printed to any printer on your network. What happens to the file is determined by information you define in the grab rule for the specific report. You define these rules up-front. Once in place, Catapult works without any user intervention required. For example, you could set it up to look for new spool files every 10 minutes or to have it run once daily. To make it easy to distribute reports to many e-mail addresses at once, you can define lists of e-mail addresses called groups. In the grab rule, you can specify either a single e-mail address, or a group name to mail to.
You can also use Catapult as an archiving tool. Instead of e-mailing reports, you can just have the reports downloaded to the server PC as PC files. The grab rule allows you to indicate the PC file name to assign to the report, and also supports several features for customizing your file names, and the directories that they are saved to.
Catapult includes an iSeries command that allows you to select a spool file to distribute immediately. This provides on-demand capabilities for archiving or e-mailing reports. You can run this command from a command line, or directly embed it in CL programs.
EZ-Pickin's is BCD's PC-based Report Mining application. It lets you filter out any set of data from a report and format it for use in other PC applications, such as Excel. Or, from within EZ-Pickin's itself, you can create new reports. Catapult includes interfaces to EZ-Pickin's that let you apply an EZ-Pickin's model to a report as it is downloaded, to automatically reformat the data. The output from this process can then be archived or e-mailed, as the next step.
One of the struggles you face in report distribution is ensuring that it is readable to everyone who sees it, and that your report structure is accurately rendered. One way to do this is by having Catapult automatically convert your reports to Adobe PDF file, before emailing them. When you print to a PDF file, you are also able to set your page and font sizes, for optimal viewing of your report.
By defining split criteria in your grab rules, you are able to parse a report and distribute each section to a different person. Your recipients email addresses can either be defined in a mailing list within Catapult, of extracted directly from the report! You can easily define a split within Catapult by setting the start and end of the segments and selecting the key value that Catapult uses to link to your distribution group entries.