I've been working with both tools in different projects and I can tell you this:
- If for some reason you purchased PDF Distribution add-on (like what happened in one of the projects I am currently working on), then take advantage of it, because like you said is quite expensive (is as expensive as purchasing Publisher again).
- If you're evaluating different reporting options, then to be honest, with NPrinting you can do a lot more than with PDF Distribution. In general terms, NPrinting is a much more robust solution for reporting.
I'll try to give you the highlights of every solution:
- Natively integrated with QlikView environment. You just have to acquire the license and then you can integrate it with publisher
- You can distribute reports only in PDF format. You have to build the reports in QV Desktop and then in Management Console you can reduce and/or loop your reports to generate multiple outputs
- You can send reports by e-mail even if they're not part of your domain
- The GUI for building reports in quite messy, and you don't have pixel precision
- You can apply filters (by field) or bookmarks to your reports, however you can't combine bookmarks with field selections
- Lets you create and distribute reports in office formats (Word, PPT; XLS), PDF, image formats, and even create html reports.
- It works as a Client-Server architecture. The NPrinting Console is the equivalent to the Management console in QlikView, so the processes are executed in the background.
- Tasks for creating and distributing reports are a lot more developed than in PDF Distribution, you can apply multiple filters to a single report (for example combining field selections, bookmarks and filters by variable values)
- You can create filters alone, like having a "filter library" so you can reuse them for different reports.
- You can even have publisher functionality (reduce, loop, distribution) of QVWS. So, if you haven't purchased publisher, NPrinting is a cheaper option.
- You can create pixel perfect reports, so it's like having a photoshop worksheet where you can add shapes, arrows and put every element exactly where you want it
- Recently, NP added a funcionality called NPrinting on-Demand where users can interact with the reports, so the can run report tasks directly from apps or even have a web portal where you can request new reports.
- In general, NP is an application focused in Reporting. In my humble opinion, QlikView is awesome at visualization, analysis and everything we know about QlikView (Business discovery, associative experience, etc etc) however the reporting side is quite poor, compared with what you can do with NP. So, I think NPrinting is a wonderful add-on for covering reporting requirements in QlikView.
Hope this helps you decide, and if you have any doubt I can give you further information,
Thanks Jaime for that detailed answer.
It would appear there is a clear winner.
Based on these findings, would you (or anyone else) say that the add-on has ANY benefits over NPrinting aside from the native integration and support?
Another consideration may be - how well will NPrinting integrate with QlikView.Next and will there be any changes/improvements to the add-on for Next...
Besides the native integration and that you can treat pdf reports tasks as any other task, I only can think about a little detail about chart displaying. As a side note, NPrinting can interact with management console through macros.
With PDF Distribution you can send any object to your report and every object get vectorial quality (So no matter how much zoom you have it would not pixelate). In NPrinting you just have vectorial fonts and when you try to export a chart it gets exported as an image that lose quality if you have a lot of zoom, but you can control from qlikview the size of the chart before exporting it. However, if you're using an office file as an output you can send your chart as data to your office file and then create a chart with the native office objects/charts.
Other than that I cannot think of another advantage of having PDF Distribution over NPrinting,
just to update, ever since I answered to this post, Qlik acquired vizubi (the creators of NPrinting). So now NPrinting is fully integrated into QlikView / Qlik Sense, making PDF report distribution an obsolete solution.
There have been many updates since Qlik bought NPrinting, like Qlik Sense integration, a newly designed management console, newsstand (with this you can subscribe to reports and get them whenever you like).
However, if you decide to use NPrinting you should check either version 16 or 17 because there are some options/features in version 17 that are still not available (this is part of the migration to a fully integrated with Qlik version, so eventually I hope all the old features will be available in the newest version)