Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Customizing your Envisionware self-service terminal launch screen

I recently deployed a computer at the public library where I work that allows patrons to pay for and release their own print jobs. Previously, the print release system was managed by staff at the circulation desk, which meant longer wait time for patrons and more work for staff.

The software can be confusing to install and configure. But fortunately, I was able to figure it out myself and did not have to resort to contacting Envisionware’s customer support for assistance. When you install the software, you’re actually installing two separate pieces of software. First, there is the actual LPT:One print release terminal software, which is what patrons use to view and release their print jobs. Then, there is an optional piece of software called Launch Command which should be installed if your print release terminal is configured to be patron-facing instead of staff-facing.

Launch Command provides buttons for the user to click which launches the print release software. Touch screen monitors are great for this, and I have deployed one for our setup. The window fills up the entire screen, including the task bar, to prevent users from accessing the Windows desktop. The buttons are defined in a simple HTML file, which gives you a ton of flexibility to customize this screen however you want. In fact, I highly recommend you do this because the out-of-the-box screen is, let’s just say, very “1990”. I was surprised to find that none of the public libraries I’ve visited in my area have customized this screen at all.

Out of the box (shield your eyes, for the white background color may blind you):

 My customizations:

The print release software is launched using an <a> tag whose “href” attribute points to the print release software’s executable. This means you could presumably use Launch Command for launching other programs too, though I haven’t had a need to do this.

<a href="launch://C:\Program Files (x86)\EnvisionWare\lptone\lptprt\lptprt.exe -host= -runmode=prompt -locale:en_us">

As you can see from the code snippet above, it’s easy to change the display language for the print release software by editing the “locale” argument. Because we have many Spanish-speaking patrons, I added a second button which launches the print release software in Spanish (use “es_us” for Spanish). The software supports English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, PRC Chinese, and Hong Kong Chinese.

Images used on this screen are stored in a location relative to where the HTML file is stored. The images are referenced by relative path in the HTML.

<img src="../images/release-a-print-job.en-us.png" />

I don’t know how Launch Command renders the HTML. Does it use its own web browser? I haven’t tried doing too many crazy things with the HTML, but due to the program’s age, I wouldn’t be surprised if it lacks support for modern web standards. For example, I tried to apply rounded-corner styling to some images using the “border-radius” CSS property, but it had no effect.

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