New in Label Management System

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Document management

Automation Manager in Control Center

Large organizations often have multiple Automation servers running different Automation configurations. When production problems occur, viewing Automation logs on multiple Automation servers is inconvenient, takes time, requires remote access, and increases security risks.

Automation Manager in Control Center provides you centralized access to configurations and triggers running on Automation servers in your environment. Automation Manager in Control Center connects to Automation Service on your local computers, so you can make changes to it instantly from your cloud or on-premise Control Center.

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Figure 18: Functionality of the Automation Manager available in Control Center

Automation Manager in Control Center works like your local Automation Manager, but adds computer names so you can:

  • Quickly locate your Automation configurations and triggers on different servers.

  • View your entire fleet of Automation servers.

  • Easily deploy or remove configurations to remote Automation servers.

The access to Automation Manager in Control Center is controlled through Access Roles membership.

Sign-in available with OpenID Connect authentication provider

The authentication providers verify the user’s identity and credentials (password, two-factor authentication, etc.) and let NiceLabel know that the sign-in was successful. For authentication providers, NiceLabel LMS products already support Microsoft Active Directory and built-in NiceLabel user management.

With this release, NiceLabel LMS products now support the OpenID Connect 1.0 authentication provider. The provider allows NiceLabel to authenticate users without having to own or manage passwords. OpenID Connect runs on top of OAuth 2.0.

Authentication provider caters for a way to authenticate users to NiceLabel by redirecting the user’s browser to a company login page, then after successful authentication on that login page, redirecting the user’s browser back to NiceLabel where they are granted access.

The new provider is configured directly in the NiceLabel NiceAN database.

Optimization in print history data logging

NiceLabel Control Center logs all print events from NiceLabel print clients. This is the greatest consumer of space on SQL servers. The more you print, the more data history Control Center must remember, so it becomes increasingly important to use storage techniques that minimize storage spending.

Two optimizations are available with the new release:

  • Bulk inserts of data. Database operations insert data for multiple events inside the same transaction to minimize connectivity overhead and improve throughput.

  • Non-changeable values are not stored for each label in a batch. Variables are only logged when their values change from one label to another. For example, when your print labels in a batch where some variables do not change their values in the entire batch, we only store their values once with the first label.

Smart monitoring in the Control Center

  • A warning message when trying to set delayed publishing time in the past. When you use the workflow process to automatically publish the already approved file, the check is put in place to prevent you from defining the publishing time in the past.

  • System user “Control Center Scheduler” is used for logging of automated system events. When using the workflow process for automated delayed publishing of already approved files, we will log the user account attributed to the event as the system user “Control Center Scheduler” (previously “Anonymous” was used that could raise some eyebrows in the validated environments).

  • Control Center user interface shows an error if the database does not have high enough version. A check is put in place to warn you when the version of Control Center application does not match the version of the Control Center database. This usually means you have upgraded the Control Center application, but not the SQL database.

  • Warning for Control Center SQL database getting full. The warning is shown in Control Center user interface when Control Center SQL database is more than 90% full. The provided link will open a help topic with suggestions to resolve the warning.

  • Preventing the administrative lock out of the Control Center. A check is put in place that prevents you from removing all users from the administrative access role. At least one user must be assigned to the administrative role.

Stored procedure to empty full database

NiceLabel LMS uses Microsoft SQL Servers to store labeling assets (contents of Document Storage) and all details about the print activity (print logs).

It is not that uncommon for customers to set up NiceLabel LMS software using the free edition of Microsoft SQL Server – Express, which is limited by the size of databases. When you neglect the importance of system monitoring, the NiceLabel database can grow to the size limit. Once this happens, NiceLabel LMS stops functioning until you free some space in the SQL database.

With this release, NiceLabel provides a stored procedure that will help you remove old print logs that you no longer need. You can define a date prior to which print logs will be cleared. You can also define the number of logs to delete in a batch.

For more technical details, see the following knowledge base article:

https://www.nicelabel.com/support/knowledge-base/article/saving-space-on-sql-databases

LDAPS support for querying Active Directory

LDAP (Lightweight Directory Application Protocol) and Secure LDAP (LDAPS) are the connection protocols used between NiceLabel and the domain controller within the infrastructure when you have Windows Authentication enabled. LDAP transmits communications in clear text, making it vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks and eavesdropping. LDAPS communication is encrypted and secure.

Microsoft issued a significant advisory against the use of insecure LDAP to Active Directory because of the potential for attacks and misuse. LDAPS should be used with Active Directory domain controllers.

A new NiceLabel configuration option enables LDAPS communication. In the case that LDAPS cannot be achieved, the fallback to LDAP is possible.

Analytics

Analytics includes a view on errors

When you print labels in NiceLabel, errors might occur during:

  • Processing. Something went wrong while processing the input data and preparing a print job.

  • Printing. Something went wrong while sending a print job to the printer.

Control Center already logged such erroneous events in the History tab along with all details that caused the problem and why the processing/printing was stopped. The same events are now exposed in the analytics and displayed graphically. This helps you monitor and analyze your label printing process giving you ways to understand what and how you print.

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Figure 19: Switching between showing the number of printed labels and number of errors for the same filtering options

The charts allow an easy switch between "Number of printed labels" and "Number of errors" display on all analytics pages.

Ignoring print jobs with unlimited print quantity

Printing labels with unlimited quantity is usual in production environments, where you print the same label template for the entire production run. The label template might increment the counter or use the printer’s datetime field – something that printer can handle internally – but no other object changes from one label to another. The label is printed until you cancel the print job.

Unlimited quantity will skew the analytics. Analytics no longer includes print jobs that were printed with unlimited print quantity.

Performance optimization for busy Automation servers

Internal data crunching processes in Analytics are optimized for cases, where you have a lot of busy Automation servers continuously sending data into Control Center database. There are less frequent messages with more concise data.

Web Printing

“Instant Print” - Web printing application can be assigned to a folder

You can create a web application that is not bound to a single label or solution file but instead is bound to a folder in your Document Management System.

When you run such web applications, they have the same user experience as the NiceLabel Print desktop application.

  • Folder names are displayed on your left (when there is any subfolder in the selected folder).

  • Available files are shown with tiles on your right. The preview shows the layout of labels and forms.

  • You can use search to quickly find the label or solution by its name.

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Figure 20: Web Client shows thumbnails of all labels and solutions in the main and all subfolders

To add a new label or solution for your users, just save it in the published folder and you are good to go. There is no need to create another Web Application and invite all users into it. This feature simplifies the deployment of web applications.

Integration System (Automation)

Parallel processing of triggers

NOTE: Product level NiceLabel LMS Pro or above is required for this feature.

File, HTTP, and Cloud triggers support parallel processing. When these triggers receive multiple requests simultaneously or within a short time period, the requests are processed concurrently.

For example, when more users simultaneously send HTTP requests into Automation API or when several data files are dropped in a monitored folder, Automation processes each request (or each file) in another instance of the same trigger. All these instances run in parallel providing more overall throughput from a single Automation deployment.

Obviously, there is a hardware limit to how many concurrent instances your computer is capable of. It all comes down to the number of cores your processor(s) has. Each processor core can host one of Automation’s print process.

In HTTP and Cloud triggers, parallel processing is enabled with the Maximum number of concurrent requests setting. In File trigger, parallel processing is enabled with the Number of concurrent action executions setting.

In previous versions, HTTP triggers supported multiple concurrent requests, but only when the “Wait for trigger execution to finish” option was set.

Enhanced printing queue processing

NOTE: Product level NiceLabel LMS Pro or above is required for this feature.

We implemented changes to the processing logic of print queues with the intention of minimizing printing bottlenecks. For example, when Automation is busy processing big multi-label print jobs, print jobs with a small number of labels (e.g. less than 10 labels) were not processed with FIFO flow controls, they had to wait for large requests to complete.

The new processing logic tries to print to as many different printers as possible while still respecting printing order and the maximum concurrent print processing limits. The requests for one specific printer are still processed by FIFO, the new execution prioritizes small print jobs.

JSON mime type added to built-in response types

Note

Product level NiceLabel LMS Pro or above is required for this feature.

Automation Builder includes the mime type for JSON data in the built-in list of response types in HTTP and Cloud triggers. This is a useful shortcut so you do not have to manually enter the mime type, but instead, simply select it from the predefined list.

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Figure 21: JSON mime type available for quick selection