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Luke speaks

With the release of System 7 comes a new release of the LaserWriter driver, version 7.0. Yes, the great implementors (GIs) have once again created another version of this driver. This version supports TrueType fonts, it's 32-bit clean, it has the new PostScript file-saving capability, and it remembers the last setting of the Black & White and Color/Grayscale print buttons (HOORAY!!).

Along comes our hero, Dudley Developer. He's been using the new CopyMask and CopyDeepMask calls that are available in QuickDraw in System 7 and he's very excited about printing his new images with the LaserWriter driver. He assumes that since QuickDraw supports the new CopyMask and CopyDeepMask calls, the LaserWriter driver 7.0 will also support them.

Bad assumption. Our hero has not been keeping up with current events. He has not even read "QuickDraw's CopyBits Procedure: Better Than Ever in System 7.0" in Issue 6 ofdevelop . If he had, he would know that, like previous versions of the LaserWriter driver, LaserWriter driver 7.0 does not directly support the CopyMask and CopyDeepMask calls.

So, in his ignorance, our hero creates a few pictures with the new QuickDraw calls, and sends them off to the LaserWriter. Time goes by, paper comes out, but the picture doesn't look the same as it did on his monitor. It has lost some of the cool effects from CopyMask and CopyDeepMask.

Why, he wonders, won't LaserWriter driver 7.0 print his images with the same effects provided by the CopyMask and CopyDeepMask calls? What was Apple thinking when they created LaserWriter driver 7.0? How could they release a driver that doesn't support the new 32-bit QuickDraw calls? How do they expect him to print his new cool pictures created in System 7 with these calls?

To attempt to understand the problem, Dudley looks between the covers of the Adobe red book (a.k.a. PostScript Language Reference Manual by Adobe Systems). Even he knows transfer modes would be required to support the new calls--but alas, he doesn't find any information on them, because PostScript level 1 doesn't understand transfer modes. Unfortunately, the LaserWriter driver won't rewrite PostScript for you; it just merrily converts your QuickDraw calls into their equivalent PostScript call. The LaserWriter driver always uses the srcCopy transfer mode when it prints a pixel map, regardless of the mode used when the picture was created. (Why srcCopy? Because of the limitations of the color model and the lack of transfer mode support provided by PostScript level 1.)

Thereis a method that will allow Dudley to print the images he created, but as usual with printing, he'll need to do a little more work: he'll need to use GWorlds and PrGeneral. Since our hero is not familiar with using GWorlds, he decides to go back through his old issues ofdevelop , hoping for an article. Luckily, he finds just what he's looking for in Issue 1: "Realistic Color for Real-World Applications" and "Braving Offscreen Worlds." And the CD contains the sample code that uses GWorlds. So, after reading the articles and trying the code, Dudley is all set to create an off-screen world to hold his image. He realizes that to get the best print quality, he'll need to make the GWorld bigger than the picture on the screen. The GWorld should be the size of the grafPort returned by the application's call to PrOpenDoc, at the printer's resolution. Dudley knows he needs a device- independent method to acquire this information, and he knows he can get it by using PrGeneral's GetRslData opcode. And even better still, he remembers an article about using PrGeneral from Issue 3 of develop . The article was titled "Meet PrGeneral," and it contained complete sample code. Yippee! After using the GetRslData opcode to determine the resolutions supported by the currently selected printer, he uses the SetRsl opcode to set the printer to the resolution he wants. When his application calls PrOpenDoc, the printer driver will return a grafPort that's sized correctly for the resolution he chose.

Next, Dudley creates the correctly sized off-screen world and draws his image using CopyMask or CopyDeepMask. He just needs to remember that since the CopyMask and CopyDeepMask calls are not saved in pictures, he needs to make the calls directly into his off-screen world (not relying on DrawPicture). So, when he's ready to print his image, Dudley uses CopyBits to copy it from his GWorld into the printer's grafPort with srcCopy. That's it; his totally cool image has been printed in living color (or anemic gray scales, if he's printing to the LaserWriter).

This wasn't so bad, but our hero is wondering--when will the GIs make this easier? When will all of this incompatibility between QuickDraw and the LaserWriter driver improve? That's a really good question. The GIs tell me things will probably not improve until the new printing architecture is released. In the meantime, you've got this way around the problem, and at least it isn't too ugly!


  • "QuickDraw's CopyBits Procedure: Better Than Ever in System 7.0," develop Issue 6, Spring 1991.
  • "Meet PrGeneral, the Trap That Makes the Most of the Printing Manager" develop Issue 3, July 1990.
  • "Realistic Color for Real-World Applications," develop Issue 1, January 1990.
  • "Braving Offscreen Worlds," develop Issue 1, January 1990.
  • Inside Macintosh , Volume V, Color Manager chapter, Addison-Wesley, 1988.

PETE "LUKE" ALEXANDER After taking almost a year to check out Ford Explorers in parking lots and dealerships, Luke has, in a surprise move, actually purchased one of his own. At SIGGRAPH in Las Vegas he ran into some Ford engineers; they were surprised, but not seriously hurt. They asked increduously, "Have you driven a Ford lately?" Luke left wondering what kind of inside information they had. He knew for sure, though, that the animation was his favorite part of the show-- which figures, since since he's so used to working with Zz, our resident cartoon character. Not surprisingly, the Las Vegas show he talked about the most had little to do with computers! He also enjoys the show at Gordon Biersch, a local brew pub known for its good beer and yuppie clientele. Luke says he goes there to see how yuppie scum lives, but every once in a while we think he already knows.*


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