The Intelligent Printer Data Stream (IPDS) is an IBM object-oriented data stream for communication between host computers and printers. An Advanced Function Presentation (AFP) subsystem is required on the host to support IPDS, which provides an application-independent and connection-independent interface to control the printers.

IPDS is available on IBM AS/400, iSeries, i5, /390, zSeries, RS6000, pSeries and p5 series computers.

In addition to commands for creating the print image, IPDS also defines commands for resource management (forms, fonts, images) and - particularly important - commands for secure communication between host and printer. Procedures for error handling and page-accurate restart after errors are an integral part of IPDS.

IPDS print output consists of objects: Texts, images, graphics, fonts, forms and barcodes. The convert4print IPDS converter converts these objects into the non-object-oriented data streams of the actually connected printers.

Three variants of IPDS emulators are available: for laser printers, for matrix printers (serial matrix, shuttle matrix) and for label printers.

The emulators behave towards the printing system like IBM printers IBM 3812-2, IBM 4028, IBM 4312 or IBM 4224.

For text printing, IBM 3812 and IBM 4028 compatible fonts as well as the scalable fonts of the IBM 4312 are available. The character sets available are 22 national code pages (version 0 and 1, incl. OCR and Latin 2), ten Euro code pages and a symbol code page. Loadable fonts with 240 and 300 dots per inch from the IBM libraries can be used on laser printers.

The functional range of the individual emulators is of course not completely identical due to the special features of the different printer types. Because of the different resolutions, small deviations must be accepted when comparing the running distances of barcodes between laser (300 dpi, 600 dpi), matrix (144 dpi, 240 dpi) and label printers (203 dpi). The priority here, however, is readability and not the run length.

IPDS print sample