How to Evaluate any Vendor's PCL to PDF Conversion Tools:
1. Don't base your purchase decision on price alone.
Find a vendor that has nothing to hide and is the author of their product. There are 3-4 offshore vendors with no physical address for their companies on their websites. These vendors are private labeling a third tier product, and the author is no longer keeping that product up-to-date with the latest developments in PCL and Windows.
2. Test the vendor early on in your evaluation process.
Get the vendor involved in a technical dialog as soon as possible. Provide a full description of your application, workflow, transformation, text extraction (for document splitting, naming, indexing, barcoding, etc.), page volume and other requirements. Include what you intend to do with the PDF after it's created. Sending a sample of your PCL (zipped) for analysis is also quite helpful. Invest your evaluation time with the actual PCL files that are going to be used for acceptance testing.
3. Don't be in too much of a hurry to get out of PCL and into PDF.
Tools like our SDK, can add bookmarks, OMR/2-D and other barcodes, signatures, extract indexing data, etc. while we are creating the PDF. The more you get done during the transformation process the less you have to do meet all your application requirements.
4. Don't be in a hurry to write custom code with any vendor's API.
First, fully test the conversions of all variations of your PCL with the GUI tools provided. And then discuss your application requirements with the vendor before you invest any programming time. The vendor may be able to recommend a better way to meet all your requirements without you having to go through a learning curve to write a custom application.
5. Do not waste your time with test files.
Every vendor provides files to show their level of PCL compatibility. Test files mean nothing. All that matters is this:
- Can the product capture/redirect your PCL as input into a transformation program
- Provide converted files with searchable text
- Auto-index when converting
- Create a small file
- Do it quickly and for the right price
- Provide adequate technical support and product updates
6. Ask your end user if they have a "wish list" of what they would like to add to their print stream.
Ask your end user questions like these:
- Would you like to insert a boilerplate terms and conditions page behind the first page of every invoice?
- How about adding a logo, letterhead or signatures?
- Bookmarks in the PDF?
- Index key words in the "Keywords Section" of the PDF or in an external "rapid batch index file" for some 3rd party document archiving system?