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Redesigned Control Center user interface

Note

Control Center is only available in NiceLabel Cloud and NiceLabel LMS.

Control Center, the heart of the NiceLabel labeling platform, has been completely redesigned to provide you more information and easier navigation on each of its pages (Dashboard, Documents, Applications, Integrations, Printers, History, Analytics, Users, and Administration). Designed with input from our channel partners and end-users, the revamped Control Center improves visibility over labeling operations, enhances responsiveness, and is more intuitive to use.

The new UI moves the main navigation pane to the left, leaving the top space free for navigation individual pages. Breadcrumbs allow you to keep track of your location within Control Center. We reorganized and split some previous pages into new pages for easier navigation and increased clarity.

Dashboard.png

The redesigned Control Center user interface.

The new Control Center is now based on the responsive Angular framework.

A new Dashboard replaces the previous Overview page and delivers an at-a-glance view of common labeling activities, including:

  • Status updates

  • Printing activities

  • Printing errors

  • Used printing seats

  • Printing from applications

  • Adding new printers

  • Downloading web clients

Your Dashboard also displays computers running Automation, available Web Applications, and files waiting for your approval. You can manage certain labeling tasks and workloads directly from your Dashboard without having to click through to additional screens. Or you can go deeper into your Control Center menu to view documents and applications or manage printers. Role-based access controls determine what information and capabilities your users can see and access.

Visual notifications for your Control Center type (production or non-production) have moved to the bottom left under your navigation pane.

Reaching customers with partner co-branding

The new Control Center enables partner co-branding, allowing our channel partners to better communicate with customers by making their names, logos, and contact information easily accessible. Partner logos and other contact information provided to our Digital Partner Program are automatically displayed in Control Center and are visible from any screen.

Web-based printer management

Web-based printer driver provisioning

Web-based printer driver provisioning streamlines your print device management by allowing your users to install or update printer drivers on any computer with NiceLabel remotely from Control Center on the web. This eliminates having to log in to physical computers to install or update printer drivers. It also allows you to create shared printer settings for printers or groups of printers, and move printers from one group to another.

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Provisioning a managed printer to two computers.

Online printer driver management is an integral part of printer driver provisioning. First, you upload printer driver packages into Control Center and then install printer drivers on computers with NiceLabel applications installed. You can provision different driver package versions to different parts of your infrastructure as needed. Control Center provides full visibility of where a particular driver version is used and allows you to plan upgrades to keep your entire printing environment up-to-date so all your computers use the same versions of all your drivers.

You can also remove print queues from computers so your printer operators don’t accidentally print on non-existing printers.

Web-based printer driver provisioning is designed for NiceLabel printer drivers and will not work for drivers from other companies. You can download driver packages for Control Center from our website.

Defining or changing printer settings via the web

Note

Web-based printer settings management requires NiceLabel printer drivers V 10 or newer.

Printer settings (also known as printing preferences) are the instructions that tell each printer how to print labels. They include settings for printing media like media size, media type, and rotation. Printer settings may also include more printing options (like speed and darkness) depending on your printer model.

There are multiple ways for you to configure printer settings in NiceLabel software and printer drivers. For example, you can store settings inside your label templates, set defaults in your printer driver, configure defaults directly on your printer, or apply settings in form applications before printing, just to name a few. These many options didn't always help with a clear picture of when best to use each option in a particular print scenario.

NiceLabel 10 provides a best-practice approach with centrally managed printer settings. You can apply settings directly on managed printers, or configure settings in profiles and add profiles to specific printers, computers, or driver packages. You can assign the same profile to many printers. Because you can set or change printer settings via the web, you save your users time, reduce unplanned downtime, lower demands on your IT resources, and speed up printer management by eliminating the need to make changes locally.

Online_Printer_Settings.png

Your printer settings are now available on the web as well as locally.

Note

The printer settings UI in Control Center is the same as your local printer drivers, with options are grouped in the same way on the web and your printer drivers.

For example, when your printer operators change label stock in a printer, they may also need to change printer settings. NiceLabel 10 allows them to do this quickly from the web without waiting for IT to remotely log in to your printer server and change settings for them. Once you set access permissions and profiles, your IT can delegate the responsibility of adjusting printer settings to your printer operators. Web-based printer settings management helps you speed up label production, significantly reduce printer downtime, and decrease the burden on your IT.

Live monitoring of your printing infrastructure

Control Center and NiceLabel client applications you install maintain contact via a bidirectional connection. Control Center can send requests and queries to applications and applications can send back details of executed print jobs and provisioning operation statuses.

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Viewing the print queues and live statuses of your printers.

This ongoing communication ensures live statuses display inControl Center. Managers responsible for your print infrastructure can see the operations of all managed print queues provisioned in their environment, quickly spot inconsistencies, and solve problems. Not only can you view print queues, but also control them– by pausing, resuming, and clearing print queues.

Note

You can monitor printers from all computers with NiceLabel installed.

Control Center shows data from print queues of all your centrally managed printers, including driver version, printer model, printer name, computer name, queue status, and driver package. Use advanced filtering and grouping features to quickly find the information you need.

All the features of live printer status monitoring are available with no remote desktops required.

Role-based access controls

Role-based access controls determine the permissions for printer groups, ensuring your users control only the printers that fall under their responsibility. Administrators can set access permissions based on location or other relevant factors.

Administrators can assign users or user groups permissions to update settings and perform local printer management on assigned groups of printers. This prevents users in one location from accidentally changing the settings on printers in another location. You can distribute permissions into various roles, typically into “manage” to install and configure printers, and “use” to print to previously provisioned printers. However, role-based access controls add extra granularity to printer permissions so you can fine-tune your permissions.

Note

You can limit your users to only using centrally managed printers. You can prevent them from using any printers not managed through NiceLabel.

You can configure provisioning permissions for multiple organization layers in your company. For example, you can users can be members of your Global Provisioning Team to manage printers at the global level, members of your Local Provisioning Team to manage printers at a production site, or only have access to a specific department for greater security. Access levels are configured through Groups in Control Center.

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Granular access controls define who can manage or use your printers.

Communication between Control Center and clients

Printer management in Control Center uses a proxy service on your computers to execute print commands locally. The NiceLabel Proxy Service enables necessary bidirectional communication between your printers, printer drivers, Control Center, and NiceLabel applications installed on individual computers in your printing environment.

NiceLabel Proxy Service installs together with NiceLabel Designer as a standard NiceLabel installation component and has been updated in this release to handle additional responsibilities.

Enhanced Cloud Printing

Cloud Printing enables you to print directly from the cloud without installing or maintaining any printer drivers on local computers. Both Zebra and Sato printers support our Cloud Print service, which reduces demands on IT by eliminating the need to maintain local print service infrastructure.

NiceLabel 10 enhances cloud printing capabilities by introducing a new standardized Cloud Printers interface. This standardized platform makes it easier and faster for our printer alliance partners to adopt and support cloud printing in NiceLabel Cloud.

Additionally, Cloud Print APIs are available directly from the Azure datacenter where your instance of NiceLabel Cloud is deployed, ensuring the fastest communication with the service.

New and improved functionalities

Enhanced Cloud-Based Security

Loftware is constantly improving security, monitoring. and reporting in our cloud platforms. To enhance cloud-based security in NiceLabel Cloud, we've engaged Veracode to provide security and penetration testing. Veracode also completes weekly software check-ups to provide proactive reviews that can prevent security issues before they occur.

Reprinting subset of a job containing multiple copies of the same label

Control Center stores details about each print request coming from any NiceLabel application. Based on the data collected, you can also reprint partial or complete print jobs, provided your access role grants you necessary permissions.

In this release, partial reprints are also possible for print jobs that contain only copies of a single label. For example, if you print the same identical label 100 times, but some labels were damaged in the process and you need to reprint just a few copies of the same label.

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Fine-tuning the number of labels to reprint.

You can enter the required number of label copies to reprint, from 1 up to the number of labels in the original print job.

Optimized WebDAV performance

When a label has many references to images stored in your Documents, the time needed to generate a label preview or print job increases significantly. The time NiceLabel needs to download all the referenced images increases with the number of images. NiceLabel stores the downloaded images in your local cache only for a predefined time interval. When it expires, NiceLabel must download the files again.

To speed up the processing of multiple files from Documents, NiceLabel now uses a new longer predefined time interval, decreasing the need to download files as frequently.

Note

You can configure the time interval for cache expiration in your NiceLabel configuration file (product.config).

Optimized the speed of label previews

Control Center previously provided the ability to display previews of selected label templates. Label previews are useful for:

  • Seeing the current layout as you are designing or when you must promote the label template in the workflow process.

  • Seeing how the data was printed on the label template in the print event history.

The time needed to generate label previews has been significantly reduced thanks to a new underlying service to generate label previews. What was previously a complicated process of more components dependent on each other is now an on-demand always-on background service.

Note

NiceLabel also uses the same optimized servicefor Cloud Print APIs, which generates print jobs for cloud-connected printers.

Redirection to the correct sign-in site in case of old bookmarked sign-in sites

Before you can use NiceLabel Cloud Control Center, you have to sign in using your authentication provider. NiceLabel Cloud automatically opens the appropriate sign-in site for your account. The sign-in site is not always the same and its URL might change throughout the NiceLabel lifecycle. When you bookmark the sign-in site and not the main address of your NiceLabel Cloud account, the previous sign-in process might not work for the new version of NiceLabel Cloud.

To prevent these sign-in problems, NiceLabel Cloud now automatically redirects you to the correct sign-in site if it detects you are trying to use a non-valid sign-in site.

Enhanced integrations

New cloud-based APIs

Note

Access to NiceLabel APIs requires NiceLabel Cloud Business protect level or above.

NiceLabel 10 improves cloud connectivity with other business systems by adding new APIs for integrating NiceLabel Cloud with cloud-based or on-premise external business systems. Integrations using APIs allow you to access NiceLabel Cloud features directly from external business systems without logging in to NiceLabel directly.

APIs are sets of programming codes that enable data transmission between software products. No matter what operating system, programming language, or technology you use, APIs allow seamless communication between your system and NiceLabel. For example, you can use APIs with your PowerForms applications to easily create a form application to manage approval processes outside of Control Center.

NiceLabel 10 provides API integration with NiceLabel document storage and QA systems to let you access documents and perform actions that you previously had to execute in either Control Center or Designer.

You can use APIs to:

  • Create or delete files or folders.

  • Request lists of files from specific folders in Documents.

  • Request label structure report.

  • Request defined workflow processes and their details.

  • Promote files in the workflow processes.

  • Check files in/out.

  • And more.

NiceLabel publishes technical specifications describing available API function calls in our Developer Portal. The specifications describe data exchange options behind the function calls, including how to format data, where to send the requests, and response message formats. The documentation includes detailed explanations of each API call and code samples in multiple programming languages. The specifications are interactive, allowing you to run calls and immediately see the results in your browser.

In future releases, NiceLabel APIs will be expanded with additional features like “Reprint” and “Manage printers”.

NiceLabel APIs use a REST (REpresentational State Transfer) software architectural style. REST makes data available as a resource, with each resource represented by a unique URL. To use the API, you request the URL resource. The message body provides additional request information. NiceLabel APIs use JSON for messages.

Note

The new APIs can only be used by members of the new Cloud integrator Access Role. You must also authenticate yourself with a subscription key in a custom HTTP header before you can use APIs. The authentication process is identical for Cloud Trigger APIs and Cloud Print APIs.

New Dynamics 365 connector

NiceLabel 10 includes a new connector for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, providing a pre-built integration with the popular ERP solution. Loftware partnered with Microsoft to develop the connector, which is available from Microsoft AppSource.

Updated ABAP Package for SAP integrations with NiceLabel

NiceLabel 10 includes an updated ABAP package which integrates SAP with NiceLabel to provide integrated labeling. The plug-in uses SAP programming language and allows transactions in SAP business systems to trigger label printing in NiceLabel Cloud and LMS with SAP master data. Version 4 of the ABAP package streamlines SAP integration with new features, including:

  • Support for SAP Cloud Platform Integration (CPI).

  • Process Information/Process Orchestration (PI/PO) enhancements (adding support for RFC destinations).

  • Label Catalog generation through new Document APIs allowing you to view lists of labels in SAP (for NiceLabel Cloud; LMS still uses the older method of label catalog generation).

  • Improved support for printing through multiple Automation print servers.

  • Support for custom fields in inbound/outbound messages for easier custom integration extensions and enhanced functionality.