Although everybody is talking about paperless businesses for years and today’s business world is undergoing digital transformation, printing is still an essential part of many business processes and is often required for documentation purposes. The SAP Print service offers you functionality to print documents from the cloud to your local printer as well as lets you monitor the printing status. You can leverage the service in your native application running on the SAP Business Technology Platform, use it for side-by-side extensibility with existing SAP Solutions or embed it in your own application offering on BTP.
The service is available in the SAP Discover Center
Printing in the cloud might not necessarily require the SAP Print service. It mainly depends on how you want to perform the printing. We can distinguish two main uses cases: Attended printing and un-attended printing.
When your users directly work in a browser-based application and manually work on each individual document, printing can also directly be performed. Either by the build-in features from the browser or underlying operating system. They will provide the user with the standard print dialog where available printers can be selected.
In such a scenario the usage of the SAP Print service is not required.
For example: When your application uses the SAP Forms By Adobe service to render a PDF document, the PDF can be directly displayed in the browser and be printed from the corresponding PDF reader application.
When you have business scenarios where
- Printing should be performed without any user interaction (background printing)
- You perform printing of many documents at once (for example triggered by a scheduled job)
- You need to send documents to multiple printers
- You need to monitor the printing status
- You need proper error handling for failed printouts
Then the SAP Print service is the choice for you.
Your application provides a scheduling feature which offers to select documents to be printed based on some parameters. When the corresponding scheduling job runs, the documents get selected based on the parameters and send to the SAP Print service. All of the documents get printed automatically. You can even make the print queue as part of your selection criteria to send them to different printers.
A simpler use case: You want your users to trigger printing asynchronously so that they can continue working and do not need to wait for the system to finish the printing.
SAP Print service offers printing functionality and lets you monitor the printing status. You can send documents to the Print service and then print out documents using a physical printer. The documents are stored temporarily, so you can print them later and control the output from the printer.
SAP Print service aims to serve the business applications that are based on SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) and other Cloud products across SAP Intelligent Enterprise Suite.
Using this service, the development effort to connect to local printers can be significantly reduced.
SAP Print service mainly consists of:
- An admin UI for managing print queues
- A backend service exposing a public API for the consumer app
- Connectivity with SAP Cloud Print Manager
How it works
To be able to print, you have to create at least one print queue. A print queue serves as a temporary storage for the individual print requests (print queue items) and can be connected to one physical printer using the SAP Cloud Print Manager (CPM) installed on the client. The CPM will pull all print queue items from the queue and send it to the printer. For managing the print queues and monitoring the print status, the print service offers a corresponding user interface.
The printer service consists of the following features/individual services:
Manage Print Queue
You can create, change and delete a print queue. It also allows you to pause a print queue (no documents can be pulled from it) and to restart it again.
Manage Print Queue Items
Similar to print queues, you can also manage the individual print queue items. This includes pausing and restarting as well as reassigning a particular print queue item to another print queue.
For each step of managing print queues and print queue items, there are public APIs which you can call accordingly.
Connect SAP Cloud Print Manager
When you have installed the SAP Cloud Print Manager on your local PC, you can connect it with the print service. It will then list all available print queues and you can assign a physical printer to each queue. Once this setup is completed the SAP Cloud Print Manager for SCP will run in the background and regularly check for new documents to print and send them to the physical printer.
Scenario 1: Build a Custom Extension Application Based on SAP Print Service
In this scenario the SAP Print service is used in a single custom application which is integrated into your existing SAP environment. Typically such an application is useful when extending the standard functionality of SAP’s Intelligent Enterprise Suite to cover all your specific business requirements including printing. The following diagram illustrates the basic flow of such an extension scenario:
Scenario 2: Build a Multi-Tenant SaaS Application Based on SAP Print Service
In this scenario the SAP Print Service is used in a multi-tenant SaaS application which is offered to multiple customers. This is a typical use case for partners which either want to offer a specific application for printing or just want to add a printing feature to their existing application. In both cases the you can significantly reduce the development efforts as SAP Print service already offers basic printing capabilities. The following diagram illustrates the basic flow of such an scenario: