Updating to BarTender 2021 Follow

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Domingo Rodriguez

Welcome to BarTender 2021!

BarTender 2021 is here. Our newest release includes new features and all the feedback you carefully provided to us during the Preview releases. This guide will help you plan and prepare for your BarTender 2021 update to make the transition as smooth as possible.


Major Changes in BarTender 2021

Before updating BarTender, there are some changes that you should be aware of. Here's a list of major things that you need to know based on the BarTender version you're updating from:

I'm updating from BarTender 2019

You are a BarTender 2019 customer and have decided to update based on the new feature set included with BarTender 2021.

Things to be aware of: 

  • BarTender 2021 is fully compatible with BarTender's 2019 Licensing Server. This allows for a much smoother update plan, because your BarTender 2021 sandbox installation can be first connected to your existing BarTender 2019 Licensing Server (if remaining printer licenses are available). 
  • You could still make use of a 30-Day Trial or even make use of provisional activation for testing BarTender 2021 if you prefer, but linking your 2021 BarTender client with your 2019 environment is definitely an option to consider before fully updating your production environment to BarTender 2021.

 

I'm updating from BarTender 2016

You are a BarTender 2016 customer and have decided to update because:

  • BarTender's 2021 new set of features (including all the previous features added in BarTender 2019)
  • BarTender 2021 is actively being supported with new feature additions and issue fixes
  • BarTender's 2021 life cycle will continue once support stops for BarTender 2016

Things to be aware of: 

  • All editions of BarTender are now licensed by printer. When you use your BarTender 2016 product key code to activate BarTender 2021 (only available for licenses under active maintenance and support contract) the equivalent BarTender 2021 Edition will be:
    • BarTender 2016 Basic corresponds to a BarTender 2021 Professional, 1 printer license.
    • BarTender 2016 Professional corresponds to a BarTender 2021 Professional, 2 printer license.
    • BarTender 2016 Automation Edition corresponds to BarTender 2021 Automation Edition, same printer count.
    • BarTender 2016 Enterprise Automation Edition corresponds to BarTender 2021 Enterprise Edition, same printer count.
  • Since BarTender 2019 we use a new Licensing Service that replaces the Seagull License Server used by BarTender 2016. This Licensing Service is not backwards compatible with older versions of BarTender. This means that you must update your BarTender clients at the same time that you update your master License Server. Provisional Activation can help to make your update process easier.
  • BarTender 2021 greatly simplifies and improves the installation process, installing most BarTender components upon installation. Choose the advanced installer configuration options to have a more granular control over what gets installed.

 

I'm updating from BarTender 10.1 or previous

You are a BarTender 10.1 (or previous) customer and have decided to update because:

  • BarTender 10.1 extended maintenance ends on 31st December 2020
  • BarTender's 2021 new set of features (including all the previous features added in BarTender 2019)
  • BarTender 2021 actively being developed for adding new features and issue fixes
  • I'm running BarTender on an unsupported older operating system version with known security risks

Things to be aware of: 

  • All editions of BarTender are now licensed by printer. When you use your BarTender 10.1 product key code to activate BarTender 2021 (only available for licenses under active maintenance and support contract) the equivalent BarTender 2021 Edition will be:
    • BarTender 10.1 Basic corresponds to a BarTender 2021 Professional, 1 printer license.
    • BarTender 10.1 Professional corresponds to a BarTender 2021 Professional, 2 printer license.
    • BarTender 10.1 Automation Edition corresponds to BarTender 2021 Automation Edition, same printer count.
    • BarTender 10.1 Enterprise Automation Edition corresponds to BarTender 2021 Enterprise Edition, same printer count.
  • Since BarTender 2019 we use a new Licensing Service that replaces the Seagull License Server used by BarTender 10.1. This Licensing Service is not backwards compatible with older versions of BarTender. This means that you must update your BarTender clients at the same time that you update your master License Server. Provisional Activation can help to make your update process easier.
  • BarTender 2021 greatly simplifies and improves the installation process, installing most BarTender components upon installation. Choose the advanced installer configuration options to have a more granular control over what gets installed.
  • BarTender 2021 is available as a 32- and 64-bit application. If you have doubts as to which Installer architecture you should choose, please check our 32-bit vs 64-bit White Paper.
  • BarTender Web Print Server has been replaced with an improved web-based application called BarTender Print Portal, which has been enhanced in BarTender 2021 with a faster responsive modern UI and streamlined functionality
  • Commander middleware software has been replaced with a much powerful and versatile product called Integration Platform. Yes, the new Integration Platform allows you to import and convert your existing Commander task lists. The transactional data you are currently submitting from your ERP or WMS systems will still work with your newly converted BarTender 2021 integration.

    Replacing Commander is also a good opportunity for you to improve your current automated print processes. If you need assistance in migrating your Commander implementation to the new Integration Platform or improving functionality, do not hesitate to reach out to our Professional Services team: ProfessionalServices@SeagullScientific.com

 

Overall

No matter what version of BarTender you're updating from, when updating to BarTender 2021 you should be aware of:

  • A new product key code isn't required for updating to BarTender 2021. All that you need is to make sure that your BarTender license is on an active maintenance plan when you update to BarTender 2021.
  • The features or companion applications you've been making use of in previous versions of BarTender might have shifted to a different Edition (to a higher, or to a lower Edition). Please review our Feature Comparison Table for BarTender 2021 to make sure that you're on the right Edition.
  • Installing SQL Server Express isn't a requirement, you can turn off its installation via an advanced installer option. We now instead use LocalDB for internal application related storage. However, there are some BarTender features that require the use of a BarTender System Database stored on a local (possible for Automation and Enterprise Editions) or remote (Enterprise Edition required) SQL Server instance.
  • Workflow design functionality has been moved from the Librarian application to the Administration Console. In case you have existing workflows, the BarTender update process retains those workflows. After the upgrade process is completed, you can open the "Librarian Setup" page in "Administration Console", select the existing workflow that you want, and then open it for modification by using the Workflow Designer.
  • Once the BarTender System Database is updated to the BarTender 2021 schema, older BarTender clients will only have read-only access to Librarian data. When making use of Librarian it is highly recommended that you first create a backup of the BarTender System Database before the update starts.

 

BarTender 2021 provides some great new features including:

  • Fast, secure internet printing and workflow approval from anywhere, any time on any browser on any laptop/PC, IOS or Android device
  • New visual Workflow Designer; Easily create label design, approval and deployment workflows for end-to-end project tracking

  • Enhanced reliability for mission-critical environments with high-availability license redundancy options
  • Improved color support with for your labels with PANTONE Color System, data-sourced colors and improved color picker

  • Faster, more integrated Librarian
  • New database support connectors
  • Expanded Print Portal and Librarian API support

For a full list of new features in BarTender 2021, see our What's New in BarTender 2021 document.


Making an update plan

As with any software update, we recommend that you create an update plan that covers your entire BarTender installation. A typical upgrade plan for BarTender 2021 might look like this:

  1. Backup BarTender documents (.btw).
  2. Backup Data Files (such as database files, transactional data, etc).
  3. Backup Integration designs (".tl" for Commander, ".btin" for Integration Platform).
  4. Backup BarTender System Database.
  5. Backup other resources such as BarTender components (.btc), graphic files, VBScript functions, etc...
  6. Document how each existing integration and BarTender document works. Verify other possible resources linked to BarTender and document / backup them.
  7. Export your printer driver settings if you’re also planning to update / reinstall your Seagull printer drivers.
  8. If using local security settings for your Active Directory user-based authentication, backup the security settings data file.
  9. Create a test environment that closely replicates your production environment.
    1. Remember that if you currently have BarTender 2019 in production and want to update to BarTender 2021, you can install a BarTender 2021 client and connect it to the existing 2019 BarTender's Licensing Server for testing purposes. 
  10. Complete comprehensive testing in the test environment.
  11. Upgrade the live environment during a maintenance window or slowdown in production.
We strongly recommend creating a test environment before updating your version of BarTender.

What you need before updating

You'll need access to a few things before you can update BarTender.

  • The latest BarTender 2021 installer. You can download this here.
  • Your Product Key Code for BarTender with an active maintenance and support contract.
    • You can find the product key code in the PKC certificate that was emailed to you when you bought BarTender.
    • For BarTender 2016 and higher, you can check your maintenance expiration date at the "Licensing" node under Administration Console. You might need to click the "Refresh" button.
  • Administrator access to the computer(s) that you will updating.

Possible ways to install / deploy a BarTender 2021 update

Deciding how available you want your existing BarTender production environment to be is perhaps one of the most crucial decisions you will need to take during the update process. The following alternatives, its pros and cons should help you with that decision:

 

I'm setting up a totally new environment for BarTender's 2021 Licensing Server and BarTender clients. 

This is a recommended option, especially if your current environment is running BarTender 2016 or older.

  • No matter what version you are updating from, you can make this a gradual process. A possible update plan would be:
    • You provisionally activate the 2021 BarTender Licensing Server on a separate server.
    • You install new BarTender 2021 clients.
    • You test BarTender 2021 clients against BarTender 2021 BarTender Licensing Server.
    • You make the provisionally activated 2021 BarTender Licensing Server your permanent activated license.
    • You could now optionally update some of your old BarTender client computers to 2021 and have them locate the new BarTender 2021 Licensing Server.
  • This update plan optionally allows you to reuse your test environment and make it your new production environment before provisional activation expires.
  • Recommended to update during production slowdowns or stoppage.
  • Contact Seagull Scientific in case of doubts with this type of update process, or if you want to make sure your license is under maintenance.

I'm setting up a new environment for BarTender's Licensing Server and will update existing BarTender clients to 2021

This is a recommended option which allows your current production system to continue operation while you update to BarTender 2021.

  • If you are updating from BarTender 2019, you can make this a gradual process, as the BarTender 2021 clients are backwards compatible with the BarTender Licensing Server 2019, and the 2019 BarTender clients can also contact the 2021 Licensing Server. A possible update plan would be:
    • You provisionally activate the 2021 BarTender Licensing Server on a separate server.
    • You test BarTender 2019 clients against BarTender 2021 BarTender Licensing Server.
    • You upgrade BarTender 2019 clients to BarTender 2021.
    • You test BarTender 2021 clients against BarTender 2021 BarTender Licensing Server.
    • You make the provisionally activated 2021 BarTender Licensing Server your permanent activated license.
  • If you are updating from BarTender 2016 or previous, there is some possibility to make this a gradual process thanks to Provisional Activation:
    • You could provisionally activate the 2021 BarTender Licensing Server on the separate server.
    • Existing BarTender 2016 (or previous) BarTender clients won't be able to detect the new Licensing Server, so you'll have to skip this step.
    • Update existing BarTender client machines to BarTender 2021. You can make this a gradual process as your old Seagull Licensing Server is still running in production.
    • Once you gradually update the BarTender clients to 2021, make the provisionally activated 2021 BarTender Licensing Server your permanent activated license.
  • Make sure to create system backups especially for the BarTender clients, just in case you need to revert back to the previous BarTender environment.
  • Recommended to update during production slowdowns or a maintenance window.
  • Make sure you have fully tested BarTender 2021 on your sandbox environment with your existing files and configuration, especially for BarTender 2016 and previous.
  • Contact Seagull Scientific in case of doubts with this type of update process, or if you want to make sure your license is under maintenance.
  • You can install BarTender 2021 clients "over the top" of an existing BarTender installation. This means you do not need to remove your older version of BarTender. Simply run the BarTender 2021 installer to perform the update.

I'm installing BarTender 2021 over my existing production environment (both server and client)

Note that your production system will be unavailable until this update is completed. If your update does not successfully complete, you may need to restart the installation process or roll back to the previous version.

  • If you are updating from BarTender 2019 and BarTender server and client are running on separate Windows images, you can make this a gradual process, as the BarTender 2021 clients are backwards compatible with the BarTender Licensing Server 2019. First update the BarTender clients, then update the BarTender Licensing Server.
  • If you are updating from BarTender 2016 or previous, there is no possibility to make this a gradual process. You must update your BarTender clients at the same time that you update your master License Server. Provisional Activation can help to make your update process easier.
  • Make sure to create system back ups, just in case you need to revert back to the previous BarTender environment. 
  • Make sure you have fully tested BarTender 2021 on your sandbox environment with your existing files and configuration.
  • Only update during a maintenance window.
  • Contact Seagull Scientific in case of doubts with this type of update process, or if you want to make sure your license is under maintenance.
  • When you're ready, you can install BarTender 2021 "over the top" of an existing BarTender installation. This means you do not need to remove your older version of BarTender. Simply run the BarTender 2021 installer to perform the update.

I want to keep 2 separate production environments, one running BarTender 2021 and the second one running my older version of BarTender

If you're looking to keep your previous BarTender version running, rather than "updating" BarTender you would need to look into purchasing a separate license of BarTender 2021.


We do not recommend connecting your new environment (sandbox or production) with your existing BarTender System Database until you have updated all your BarTender clients to 2021. This is because once you update the System Database schema to the 2021 version it won't be fully backwards compatible with older BarTender clients. For more information visit the "Updating the BarTender System Database" section.

Activating BarTender

During the BarTender installation, you will be prompted to activate Bartender. You can use your existing BarTender Product Key Code to activate.

Provisional Activation

When you're activating BarTender, you have the option to choose a "Provisional Activation". Provisional activation allows you to activate a BarTender 2021 license on one computer for a temporary period while your older license remains active in production.

  • Professional and Automation editions can provisionally activate for 30 days.
  • Enterprise editions can provisionally activate for 180 days.

After this period, BarTender's provisional installation is automatically deactivated. Warning messages will be periodically displayed to inform you that BarTender is provisionally activated and will be deactivated after the specified period. If you deactivate your production BarTender Licensing Server before the provisional activation expires, your provisional BarTender Licensing Server will become your active license instead.

Provisional Activation is useful for two reasons:

  • You can use Provisional Activation to test BarTender 2021, while keeping your older version running in production.
  • Since 2016 and older BarTender clients cannot communicate with the BarTender 2021 Licensing Service, you can use Provisional Activation to keep concurrent versions running while you migrate all older BarTender installations to BarTender 2021.

Alternatives to provisional activation are:

  • Retrieve a 30 day Trial PKC for BarTender 2021.
  • When updating from BarTender 2019 to 2021, install BarTender 2021 client and have it connect to the existing BarTender 2019 BarTender Licensing Server. This would allow you to test the "client" side of BarTender 2021.

Updating the BarTender System Database

Once you update BarTender, the new version will be unable to connect and log to an older version of the BarTender System Database. To continue logging information and/or using Librarian, you must also update the BarTender System Database.

The first time you launch BarTender following an update, you will be prompted to update the BarTender System Database.  Before you update, we strongly recommend creating a backup of your current BarTender System Database.

To create a System Database backup:

  • Open Administration Console
  • Go to the "System Database" node
  • Click "Administrative Tasks"
  • Select "Backup Database..."
  • Follow the prompts to choose a location and create your backup

Generally, after you update to a new version of BarTender and the BarTender System Database, it is best to upgrade any other BarTender installations that are connected to that database.

 

Backwards compatibility

If you are still running an older version of BarTender, it can connect to a new BarTender 2021 version of the BarTender System Database to retrieve and log information. Note though that these older BarTender installations will only have read-only access to Librarian data. (This is a consideration only if you are running multiple versions of BarTender connecting to the same remote BarTender System Database.)



Document Backwards Compatibility

Documents created in an older version of BarTender can always be opened and used in a newer version.

BarTender v2021 can save BarTender documents up to BarTender 7.75, but doesn't support saving for older versions. 

Documents saved in a newer version of BarTender cannot be opened in an older version. Therefore, if you are using multiple versions of BarTender and sharing documents between these versions, you should consider saving all new documents to the oldest version available in your company.

To change the version format for a single BarTender document:

  1. Open BarTender and the document that you want to change
  2. Click the File menu
  3. Select Save As...
  4. In the File Type drop-down menu, choose the version you would like to save to

To automatically save all documents for an older version of BarTender:

  1. Open BarTender
  2. Click the Administer menu
  3. Click BarTender Document Setup
  4. Modify the Save Document As option
Saving documents to older versions of BarTender may remove some features that aren't supported in the older version.

 

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