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Printing via Thinkwize reporting service and not via webserver?

  • 27 September 2022
  • 2 replies
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Dear clever minds,

The handling of phyiscal documents is an important step in our transportation process. A truck driver takes several papers with him during his trips. For instance, an usigned proof of delivery and a packing list. The truck driver hands over this documents at the receiving party of the goods (where it should be signed).

We have already built functionality in the Thinkwise platform to generate a proof of delivery report for a transport order and to print these on a printer which is installed on an internal print server.

In addition to the proof of delivery, we also have to print the packing list of the customer for each single transport order. The driver also has to hand over these documents at the receiving party of the goods. These packing lists are stored as PDF-files on a separate file storage location.

Therefore, a process flow has been developed to print both the proof of delivery and the packing list in the correct order on the initial printer on the print server.

However, according to Thinkwise documentation, the printer should be installed on a webserver.

However, this is not a desirable situation for us. This because of the fact that on all our non-print servers the print spooler has been disabled due to security risks. (See also: https://www.cisa.gov/uscert/ncas/current-activity/2021/06/30/printnightmare-critical-windows-print-spooler-vulnerability)

It is a best practice to keep the print spooler service disabled in case it is not needed. Therefore, we would like to be able to forward the job to the print server using the Thinkwise reporting service.

How can we handle this issue?

(The image attached shows the process visually. )

 

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Best answer by HJ van Dalfsen 28 September 2022, 12:00

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Hello JHarke,

For some reason I cannot see the image you have attached so I do not know how much extra information it adds about your situation to your question.

Unfortunately it is not possible to make the reporting service print files that have already been exported. This is because the service assumes it will always have to generate the report before exporting or printing it. So unless the service can also be used in the process to handle the generation step of the packing lists you will not be able to use it for printing.

Also unfortunately, we will not be adding new features to the service so using it to print files without loading and generating the report first will not be possible.

If you absolutely cannot install the printer on the web server or generate the packing lists using the reporting service, I think the best option for the short term would be to build something yourself. Maybe take a look at the architecture of the reporting service for some inspiration: https://docs.thinkwisesoftware.com/docs/kb/report_service#architecture

While making the print connector for process flows we did explore the possibility of offering the ability to use IPP to send documents directly to a printer or a printing system such as CUPS, which might have been an acceptable solution in your situation. However due to the complexity, amount of options and the fact that every printer may support different things of the protocol we decided not to include it in the initial version of the connector. We would still like to add support for it in the future but I cannot make any promises on when that would be.

So again, your best option for now might be to build something similar to the reporting service yourself.

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Hi,

Via the DevExpress Report Designer version 1.50 we could resolve the issue by implementing the PDFcontent widget and load the PDF into the report, using the file_path as expression. 
Then the PDF document is properly printed as a report via the Reporting Services.

Unfortunately, ThinkWise has removed that option in the 1.60 release of the Report Designer.
Would be good when this option will be brought back.

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