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Qlik NPrinting Year-in-Review

2017 was a very busy year for Qlik NPrinting, from the standpoint of improving stability and performance, filling gaps from NPrinting 16, and extending the product with a platform-based approach in mind.

Let’s start in April with Qlik NPrinting 17.3.1. This service release contained a significant amount of bug fixes, and on top of the improvements made in version 17.3 in February, represented the first truly stable version of NPrinting. We received positive feedback from the field and at Qonnections shortly after this version was released. During an open discussion at a customer presentation at Qonnections, several customers who were unsuccessful with previous versions voiced that they had just upgraded to this version and were able to get their environments running without issue.

While we continue to focus on product stability and quality, crossing this proverbial tipping point allowed us to turn our attention to highly requested gap features and functionality, and building out enterprise reporting APIs.

The June 2017 release included a task execution monitoring page where from within the Qlik NPrinting web console, task status, percentage completion, and a snippet of the log file can be viewed. There are plans to increase the amount of data available in the monitoring view in future releases.

We also introduced APIs aimed at three types of reporting activities: task chaining, user management, and On-Demand reporting for Qlik Sense (including user selections as report filters). In 2018, we will continue to enhance our APIs to be more robust.

Additional highlights included support for Qlik Sense third party extensions, a connection verification button and making metadata reload a schedulable task.

In September, we filled the long-requested gap of report cycling, which allows for an easy way to loop through dimension(s) values and produce unique report files for them.

Another highly requested capability that was part of this release is the ability to migrate reports between Qlik NPrinting environments. The import/export process includes a check on the connection(s) used for the report template, as well as any filters that are applied to the report. It is on our roadmap to support migration of more Qlik NPrinting entities. Note that you can effectively “clone” a report by exporting it and then re-importing it into the same environment.

And in our final release of the year (November 2017), another key gap was filled with embedded reports. HTML reports or reports rendered in image formats can be embedded directly in the body of an email message.

Last but not least, we added new image quality settings for reports. There are now three options to choose from when adding a report to a publish task: normal (96 dpi), high (192 dpi), and very high (384 dpi). While these settings impact both QlikView and Qlik Sense images, the overall quality improvement is much more evident with Sense.

At this time, we also have a technical preview of our February 2018 release available on Qlik Community. This release includes support for JWT authentication, as well as DMS authorization for QlikView. Please see the technical preview help site for more information.

We are looking forward to 2018 being a great year for Qlik NPrinting and its users!

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8 Comments
julian_rodrigue
Valued Contributor

We hope so!

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dineshsingh
New Contributor III

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zebhashmi
Valued Contributor

Great!

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Lech_Miszkiewicz
Honored Contributor III

Hi, I am NPrinitng user, developer, Qlik partner and i am also huge fan of NPrinting since it was still VIZUBI branded product. I have been working with NPrinting for about 7 years, I have been helping developers on community to overcome all the problems and limitations for whole last year and i think that 2017 was THE WORST year so far for NPrinting!!!.

My statenment here is that NPrinting should not be released until year 2018 as all the previous version had very significant bugs making it unusable! If you want i can list those bugs...


Many of my clients lost huge amount of trust in NPrinitng tool. Never ending bugs and stability issues made us (partners) look silly, and clients change solutions to alternative solutions effectively leaving Qlik and going to competitiors!

After a year of never - ending investigations i am still awaiting a bug fix (which aparently will be done in version February 2018). This particular bug would not allow developers to generate metadata for QVP connection, which seems to be basic fucntionality before you can even start building report templates! Client who is affected by this BUG has a significant number of Qlik users and NPrinting recipients and it was extreemly difficult to keep the morale high in constant issue-driven environment.

We also felt ashamed by beeing forced to install NPrinitng 17 as NPrinting 16 was not initially supported with QlikView 12 and having to downgrade (due to stability issues with NP17) to version 16 once it became supported with QV12.

There is still huge feature gap between version 16 and 17 which does not allow many of our clients to upgrade!

    - linked fields

    - csv format

    - variable filters

    - expression filters (for example sum(Sales)  >= 120)

    - embeded dependencies on tasks

    - recipient import supporting import of Folder and SubFolder for recipient

I know there are workarounds for some of the above mentioned gaps - but clients are not interested in workarounds - they are interested in working products!

Last thing:

Although NPrinting 17 is beeing considered more scalable solution i find it very slow and  i can say that it is very often slower than version 16 which was build many years ago and was executing only one task at the time.

Don't you think it is actually embarassing releasing product in 2017 which is not keeping up with product developped few years ago?

You don't have to go far for an example - create a simple app, generate qvp connection and create simple XLS report which will produce a chart image. Then measure time to genereate report on version 16 and 17 multiply by 200 recipients and compare. You would be surprised!

Coming back to the statement that it was a great year for NPrinting i think we should change this statement that it was a Year full of NPriniting improvements which will lead to release of a product finaly suitable for sale!

I am looking forward to new release in February 2018 hoping for true performance boost and finally solving the bugs and issues and closing gaps. As a big NPrinitng enthusiast i really hope for the best!

regards

Lech

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bfielding
New Contributor

Hi Lech,

Can you tell us a little more about the bug: particular bug would not allow developers to generate metadata for QVP connection. We are a consulting firm that has also struggled with NP17 over the past year. I just wanted to make sure we were aware of the bug to which you are referring and that we are not trying to solve a problem that can’t be solved.

Thanks for the help!

Regards,

Beverly Fielding | Engagement Manager | www.axisgroup.com<http://www.axisgroup.com/> | 908-988-0200 Ext 282

Axis Group LLC 400 Connell Drive Suite 6100 Berkley Heights, NJ 07922

Improving Business Through Better Information

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Lech_Miszkiewicz
Honored Contributor III

Hi Beverly,

I am sure you are not aware of this bug, as it was considered as a BUG just before Christmas this year after finally Qlik was able to replicate an issue.

So the behaviour is that QVP connection sometimes was generating metadata without issues and sometimes was stuck under " Generating" status and would never finish. The second scenario accured more and more and you never knew if metada will be generated. It made the devs work extremly hard and tool not reliable.

The Qlik file was meeting all required criteria!

The workaround for it was to kill QV.exe process (1 or few times)  from Task Manager until it finaly generated metadata. 

On another note - the QVP metadata generation process is re-written in NPrinting February 2018 from scratch and it takes different approach. Qlik coders said it will fix issue i am facing.

This behaviour was observed from versin 17.1 and i had many different support cases with Qlik regarding this, but it was never identified as a bug, because we were always blaming different factors for beeing a reson to it. From version June 2017 i had enough and i went throught the process of collecting all required documentation, (qvw files, repository, screenshots, recordings etc) and i did not allow Qlik to close support ticket until stable solution was found. I had a WebEx session with NPrinting programmers from Europe - they tested it. Inittially they could not replicate issue, but after some time and more testing they got back to me saying that they have found a bug and observed the same behaviour.

So i am waiting for February release hoping this will finaly stop my misery.

regards

Lech

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Employee
Employee

Thanks for your feedback Lech. I’m very sorry to hear you’ve had such a hard time with NPrinting this past year. We recognize there have been issues. We are continuing to invest significant effort into improving the quality and gap features to ensure your success. We will reach out directly to discuss your concerns in more detail. I promise we will do our best to regain your trust in 2018!

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ldekoning
New Contributor II

Hello all,

I would just like to add to Lech's comment: We are also still using Nprinting 16, basically because of the feature gap between 17 / 18 and 16.

For us the following features are highly used in our reports and therefore we do not upgrade, which is a shame since we miss out on new features.

- Microsoft Office macros and related file formats (.xlsm)

- Variable filter

- Bookmark filter

- Clear all selections

- Select excluded

- Test task

- Task failure notifications


For 17 i had the idea development was mostly directed at new features. Personally I hope one or two releases will also be directed at bridging the gap in features between 16 and 17(and up).


Do you have any idea when these features are planned? (If they are still planned?)

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