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30 May 2023 Blog Lasernet Document Management Private Sector Interview

A Quick Tour Around The Latest Version of Lasernet (10.5)

With the recent release of Lasernet v10.5, we decided to drop in on the legendary Lasernet product owner, Torben Pedersen, to find out more about what customers can expect from this latest version and also about his own involvement with Lasernet over the years.

Hi Torben, can you talk us through your role at Formpipe and what you’re responsible for?

Torben Pedersen, Product owner Lasernet core

I’m a Product Owner on the Lasernet Core team, which covers the Lasernet Input and Output Management software. My day-to-day is mostly around defining the backlog for the Lasernet Core products along with communicating with our stakeholders, developers, and our new QA team, as well as helping to deliver 3rd level support in co-operation with the support team.

I'm also managing the Lasernet server and client apps, the integrations to Microsoft Azure and cloud services, as well as the secure communication and printing channels, which are offered to our on-premise and cloud customers in the ERP and financial verticals.

How long have you been in your role working with Lasernet?

I have a very long background managing the development of the Lasernet Core client/server software - more than 30 years if you can believe it! As part of that journey I have worked on adding functional, load, geographical and administrative scalability and more recently, on secure scalability in Lasernet 10, both on-premise and in Formpipe Cloud.

Can you tell us more about secure scalability and what that means for Lasernet v10?

We recently introduced a new REST API where the Lasernet Config Server acts as a relay proxy between all the Lasernet apps in order to improve encryption and protocols, as well as to increase the overall security level for our service configuration and authentication methods.

The primary modes of authentication have been local and Active Directory (AD) accounts. To centralize the maintenance of users, rights and roles, we have now implemented the OpenID Connect framework and added support for Microsoft Azure AD and app login authentication in all apps from Lasernet 10.2.

As a cloud provider, we want to help mitigate the risk of cyberattacks, and also increase security everywhere we possibly can, whilst continuing to provide a smooth and enjoyable user experience.

So, from a security and administration point of view, how do you keep all of the servers and apps synchronized?

In Lasernet 10.2 we introduced a new Login app, to sync the app and server versions to facilitate easier installation for the Lasernet Developer, Client, Meta and OCR applications.

Whenever you log in to a Lasernet Config Server, it will automatically download and install the same version that is running on the server. This ensures your client and server apps always remain in-sync.

This is a convenient and secure way for end-users to connect to different Lasernet servers. It will ensure that they always run the same version on client site as on the server site. During log in and synchronization the signed application files are validated via a manifest to ensure that application files are trusted.

It works for both on-premise and cloud customers running different versions of Lasernet 10 in their environment. They can securely upgrade and validate the development environment before they finally upgrade their live environment, and we can still guarantee that our client apps are matching their server version.

In the Lasernet 10.5 release video, it mentions a number of User Experience (UX) enhancements. What have you included this time around?

We really care about our end-users, so we love to add UX enhancements for each release, to make their lives easier!

For most end-user’s, their daily tasks are to create workflows and documents in the Lasernet Form Editor, in formats like XML, JSON, HTML, PDF, DOCX, XLSX or hard copies, to send to any business channel supported by the Lasernet Server.

In version 10.2 we focused on label design and introduced new settings for dynamic font sizing and scaling for rearranges, so that the largest possible font size could be calculated in order to improve overall readability. Creating labels is now easier than ever, and supports a huge variety of formats and sizes, as well as a wide range of 1D and 2D barcodes.

In version 10.3, hyperlink support was added to images, which was a highly requested feature for our customers working in the B2C area. We also centralized and automated the installation and sharing of company specific Windows fonts used by Lasernet forms. And to help improve document security, we added password support for DOCX and XLSX formats.

In 10.4 and 10.5, we went a step further by introducing colored QR codes, added improved text editing and merging tools to rearrange objects, new keyboard shortcuts for easier navigation across pages in the Form Editor and much more. We improved the XFDF templates for PDF Form Fills, to show possible values extracted from the PDF, making it easier for end-users to know what to input, as well as including a number of error-handling routines.

You will now also find support for specifying how DataTables are related in SQL queries, making it possible to have master/detail relationships. This gives you the option to run mail merges using the rich text editor (DOCX) and from spreadsheets (XLSX), based on your queries, e.g. customers and orders.

Click here to watch video

Is there anything new in this release for users that have Input Management in their workflow?

Yes! We have been looking closely at how we capture and process dates . Most end-users don’t realize quite how complex this task can be! It also doesn’t help that external PDF creation software varies immensely, and as such, the documents our customers receive often contain dates in lots of different formats. This is especially true between different countries / languages. This makes it very tricky to recognize and extract this information from incoming business documents. To help deal with this, we have added wider scope auto-detection and improved maintenance of short and long dates, for various countries / languages, which has significantly improved recognition and processing.

We have also changed the metadata extraction process for incoming PDF documents, rendered by the Tesseract OCR module, to support a wider range of documents created by 3rd party PDF tools. Several providers of PDF SDK’s do not follow the PDF standard 100%. Many PDF readers, like Adobe Acrobat, allow for this, and from Lasernet 10.5, the Tesseract module will also accept PDF documents that are not 100% valid, as long as they are still readable.

What have been your highlights of this process?

Working with the developers and product managers in the Lasernet Core and Cloud teams to move our software, especially those elements that have historically been on-premise, to Formpipe Cloud, as well as meeting the greatly increased requirements for security, availability and scalability that comes with having a cloud based solution.

The first Lasernet customer started up as a pilot project in 1989 and they are still one of our customers after more than 30 years. They have been able to upgrade and migrate their configuration between each of our releases from version 1 to version 10. We are very grateful and proud to have been able to support them on their epic journey with us!

How about challenges?

Well, when I started working with Lasernet Core all those years ago, I had a head full of black hair and now it is all grey! But I don’t think I can add that to the changelogs! Apart from that, it has been a great experience from start to finish and we’re all very happy with the Lasernet 10-series.

For more information about Lasernet version 10.5 release, check out our support site. You can also subscribe to the ‘Lasernet’ topic on the support site to get all the latest news and updates as they are posted. If you want to see these new features in action, why not get in touch with us for a demo?

 

 

 

Author
Joe Ferro & Jamie Oliver