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Improved eGuide and iPrint round out Virtual Office

Feb 27, 20033 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Novell updates eGuide and iPrint for NetWare 6.5

In looking at the upcoming release of NetWare 6.5 (formerly codenamed Nakoma), I’ve mentioned two of the user-centric areas Novell wants to emphasize: iFolder and virtual teams. There are two more components of the Virtual Office – Novell’s designation for the user-focused elements of the network operating system – which incorporate some self-service functions.

Neither eGuide nor iPrint is new, but they have been improved. Because they are user-focused, they add to your arguments when making the case to move to the new version.

EGuide started life as a user-friendly interface to the directory. It allowed users to search for information without having to navigate (and learn) the administrative tools (Network Administrator, NWAdmin, ConsoleOne, iManager, etc.). The utility has grown to also offer “write” capability as well as “read,” so that users can administer relevant parts of their directory entries – provided you’ve given them the rights to do so.

The utility can also display org charts which are up to date (a rare occurrence in today’s volatile and dynamic enterprise) and can link to e-mail and messaging clients using point-and-click technology to send communications.

Printer sharing has been part of NetWare almost from the very beginning (disk sharing came first), but iPrint goes far beyond the old queue-based print services while making the intricacies of Novell Distributed Print Services (NDPS) and the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) transparent to the user.

Using point-and-click (have I been saying that a lot lately?), the user wishing to print a document simply selects a printer from a map or floor plan. No need to remember cryptic names. In fact, no need to be in the same building, city or country as the printer. You, of course, need to grant access to the resource (the printer) and make the driver available (all part of NDPS). The first time the user tries to access a printer any needed drivers are automatically downloaded. It may not be cutting-edge, but it is easy to use, and that’s more important to the average user.

The Virtual Office in NetWare 6.5 – including iPrint, eGuide, iFolder and virtual teams – demonstrates that Novell is working hard to enhance the user’s experience with NetWare. It has always provided good “plumbing,” but users don’t see the copper pipes. Now Novell’s adding the gold fixtures that make users ooh and ah. It’s a step in the right direction, for sure.

There’s a lot more to NetWare 6.5, including features designed for you, the network manager. More about that next issue.