Green Screens Release 2022.Q3

Latest update just arrived! Release 2022.Q3 brings a lot of new features. The most important one is a full upgrade to support IBM i Release 7.5.

Also, there are big changes in IBM i web printing segment. As announced earlier, we added LPD/IPP printing support and new feature to print directly from a web browser to a locally installed printers and many more other small changes and improvements.

What's new?

QPWDLVL 4 encryption scheme

Support for latest IBM i 7.5 released in May 2022., is added. New IBM i OS release brings completely new QPWDLVL 4 encryption scheme used by DDM services, JT400, and bypass signon for 5250 Terminal. In order to support new encryption scheme, we not only updated JT400, but also we added QPWDLVL 4 encryption scheme to 5250 terminal passwordless login. Web Admin UI is also updated to support QPWDLVL 4 option.

Alternate BIDI converter for RTL

When dealing with RTL languages such as Hebrew, handling BIDI text within 5250 terminal is not the same as in modern GUI based OS, which create some compatibility issues.

Terminals use so-called visual or physical ordering, while modern OS use logical ordering. Due to the different principle, that creates improper RTL text rendering in modern OS. A general solution is to wrap RTL terminal text into BIDI LTR/PDF control codes, which instructs modern OS not to handle BIDI text and show it as is. This is not always acceptable by the client requirements, so we added an alternate copy mechanism that is able to convert terminal copied text into logical ordering.  

Use CTRL + B to copy text with logical reordering.

NOTE: Due to the complexity of  2 different BIDI engine formats, some edge cases are not possible to convert properly.

LPD daemon printing support

Until now, for a workstation operator to get spool files into their browser, a printer session is required. From this release, we added a simple LPD printer service which receives *OS400 format spool files (SPLA0200) to process them into a PDF and forward to a proper user browser. Based on received spool attributes, user / station are determined and auto-linked to an active web terminal session.

This approach does not require the user to start a printer session. Also, multiple RMTOUQ can be defined to print to the same targeting session with different printer drivers.

IPP printing support

When Green Screens Server is located in public network, LPD protocol is not the best choice as it is simple and does not contain any type of security. Thus, we implemented HTTP/s based IPP service. IBM I spools can be safely sent directly to the Green Screens Server.

LPD Printing Proxy

Additionally, we created an LPD Splitter. A small LPD service use to forward received spool files to multiple Green Screens Servers if used. This is useful when a load balancer is used.  

Except standard binary LPD daemon, we also added an IPP and HTTP based API Key protected service to receive spool files from LPD Splitter. Ideal solution in multi network environment as only standard ports such as 80/443 are used.

Direct Browser Printing

Desktop integration module is updated with a new feature to allow direct printing to a locally installed printer without requirement for browser extension installation or usage of the Green Screens Desktop Virtual Printer - a web based 3812 printer.

Green Screens Desktop Virtual Printer

Desktop printer client which prints safely through Green Screens Server web services now supports HPT printing mode.

Theming improvements

Web terminal is improved for better and easier color theming support for multiple different environments. Also, we updated the browser extension theming tool to export selected theme colors as CSS. CSS itself can be exported as fixed theme linked to UUID/HOST or as dynamic named theme which can be changed programmatically either through custom web scripts or through special RMTCMD ('javascript:')

Desktop integration

We introduced a new web terminal flag (Tn5250.opts.gsrun) when desktop integration module is installed and available for current web terminal session. This feature, among other use, allows automatic printing through a new direct web print feature.

Desktop integration module can operate as an integral part of browser extension or as a standalone custom browser schema (gs-run://) handler. The latest update, brings all features from extension mode to standalone mode such as: URL based report download and local printer listing to web terminal.

Browser extension changes

Major browsers supporting browser Extensions are updated to a new V3 version with significant changes. Background extensions process is not anymore an invisible background page. Now, it is a ServiceWorker. The 2 main differences are: no access to the document DOM and service worker restarts every 5 min. Those changes break some internal features.

Broken features are: URL sharing protection and HLL integration. For URL Sharing, we prepared update for GSv4 among the latest GSv5 release. While, HLL integration resolution will be postponed to 2022.Q4 or later.

Extension UI has gone through significant changes, including migration to a new framework. Our own WebComponents. This allowed us to significantly reduce code size from 1.1MB to just 115KB. Impact is on performance improvements and memory reduction.

Modern web UI library

We created and released as open-source under MIT license our own library for web development based on WebComponents. This library will be the basis for all our future UI interface including mentioned Browser Extension, Web Admin console, 5250 Terminal screen  modernization and many more to come.

Complete list of changes can be found at the following link