TweetFollow Us on Twitter

March 96 - Print Hints: QuickDraw GX Breaks the Space Hack

Print Hints: QuickDraw GX Breaks the Space Hack

Dave Polaschek

Before QuickDraw GX, when an application that generated its own PostScript(TM) code wanted to make sure the printer could print a particular font, it could send one space character in the needed font. The LaserWriter driver would check the printer to see if the font was available, and if not, the driver would send the font to the printer so that it would be available to print the space character -- and any other characters in that font that the application-generated PostScript code might require. The reason for using a space was simple: you didn't want to mark the page just to get a font to the printer, and a space wouldn't mark it. This technique, first described in "The Perils of PostScript" back in develop Issue 1, became known as the "space hack."

Unfortunately, the space hack doesn't work with QuickDraw GX. This column describes a new way for applications that generate their own PostScript code to send fonts to the printer. The code to do this is provided on this issue's CD.

QUICKDRAW GX CHANGES THE PICTURE

QuickDraw GX has a really cool imaging model, supports all kinds of whizzy features, and to top it off, introduces the long-awaited new printing architecture. But it has one snag: after all the years you've spent getting your PostScript printing tuned just the way you like it, QuickDraw GX breaks the space hack.

The space hack depends on a font's entire character set being sent to the printer in response to the need for a single character (the space character). But QuickDraw GX sends only the needed characters in a font to a printer, because it's trying to conserve memory on the printer and also because sending less data means faster transmission of that data. This isn't such a big issue with Roman fonts, where there are only 256 characters at most, but in the case of two-byte fonts such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean fonts, where there can be tens of thousands of characters and the font can be tens of megabytes in size, sending only the required characters makes a big difference in speed.

Incidentally, with QuickDraw GX you don't need a specialized printer to print two-byte fonts. It divides fonts with more than 256 characters into several smaller fonts with new encodings containing just the characters you need, so you can print characters from the font on any PostScript printer.

THE NEW WAY TO DOWNLOAD FONTS

So QuickDraw GX has lots of advantages over QuickDraw, but the space hack is broken. What's the poor programmer to do?

You can use a new font downloading method based on calling GXFlattenFont, a handy function introduced with QuickDraw GX, to convert the font to a form that's easily sent to the printer. GXFlattenFont is intended to convert any font present on your Macintosh into the output font format of your choice. (Conversion is limited by the capabilities of the scalers present, as explained in "QuickDraw GX Font Scalers.")

    QUICKDRAW GX FONT SCALERS

    The QuickDraw GX Open Font Architecture accepts drop-in font scalers. A font scaler is a bit of code that takes a font of a given type and converts it to bitmaps for display. It also converts fonts to outline format and can optionally convert a font to another font format. QuickDraw GX includes three default scalers:

    • the bitmap scaler, which is essentially the same as in QuickDraw
    • the TrueType GX scaler, which supports the TrueType GX format
    • the Type 1 scaler, which is part of Adobe(TM) Type Manager

    All of these default scalers are capable of generating bitmaps for screen display and PostScript fonts for printing. Only the TrueType GX scaler can generate downloadable TrueType fonts.

GXFlattenFont can produce Type 1 data that's ready to be sent to your PostScript printer with no problem.

Now let's turn to the code that replaces the old space hack. The rough idea is to call GXFlattenFont on a QuickDraw font reference and a set of characters (an encoding) that you need to print, and return the result in a form that's easy to send to the printer. For simplicity, if no encoding is present, we use the standard Macintosh encoding. Listing 1 shows a font-downloading routine, FontToPict, that uses this technique if QuickDraw GX is installed. (This is a somewhat simplified version; see the CD for the full code of FontToPict and its related utility functions.)

Listing 1. FontToPict

PicHandle FontToPict(short qdFont, short qdStyle)
{
   Rect         theRect = {0, 0, 1, 1};
   PicHandle      thePict = OpenPicture(&theRect);
   const   short   kPostScriptHandle = 192;

   // If QuickDraw GX is installed, use the new method.
   if (GXInstalled()) {
      Handle            piccommentHdl;
      unsigned   short   *myEncoding = nil;
      
      MakePSHandle(qdFont, qdStyle, myEncoding, &piccommentHdl);
      PicComment(kPostScriptHandle, GetHandleSize(piccommentHdl),
          piccommentHdl);
   } else {
     // If QuickDraw GX isn't installed, use the old method.
      Point   penPoint;

      // We would normally set the clip here, but since we're just
      // drawing a space there's no need.
      GetPen(&penPoint);             // Save the pen location.
      TextFont(qdFont);
      TextFace(qdStyle);
      DrawChar(' ');
      MoveTo(penPoint.h, penPoint.v);    // Restore the pen location.
   }
   ClosePicture();
   return (thePict);
)
FontToPict starts by checking to see if QuickDraw GX is installed. If not, it uses the old hack of printing a space; otherwise, it calls MakePSHandle (Listing 2), which calls the utility function ConvertQDFontToGXFont to convert the QuickDraw font reference into a QuickDraw GX font reference. MakePSHandle then checks to see if an encoding has been passed in; if not, it builds the standard Macintosh encoding. Next it calls FontToHandle, which is just a wrapper for GXFlattenFont. GXFlattenFont converts the specified font to the Type 1 format. Error-handling and cleanup code is last. Simplicity itself! The result, whether QuickDraw GX is present or not, is a PICT that you can send to the printer by calling DrawPicture once the printer port has been opened.

When calling MakePSHandle, you should specify an encoding array that contains the characters you intend to actually print. This prevents QuickDraw GX from sending the entire font to the printer and becomes very important when you make your application WorldScript aware. There's an #ifdef in the code on the CD that generates only the encoding array you need in order to use a portion of the font. As mentioned earlier, with Chinese, Japanese, and Korean fonts, sending only the characters you need can make the difference between sending a few kilobytes or many megabytes of data to the printer. If you don't use the entire font, remember to encode the characters that you want to draw, using the same encoding that you passed in to the MakePSHandle function.

Listing 2. MakePSHandle

OSErr MakePSHandle(short qdFont, char qdStyle,
    unsigned short *encodingArray, Handle *outputHandle)
{
   OSErr            status = noErr;
   gxFont            theFont;
   unsigned short   *myEncoding;
   Boolean         madeEncoding = false;

   // Convert to a QuickDraw GX font reference.
   theFont = ConvertQDFontToGXFont(qdFont, qdStyle);

   // If no encoding, create the standard Macintosh encoding.
   if (!encodingArray) {
      long   returnLength;

      myEncoding =
          (unsigned short *)NewPtrClear(256 * sizeof(short));
      returnLength = MakeMac8BitEncoding(theFont, myEncoding);
      if (returnLength != 256) {
         DebugStr("\pHmm. We didn't get a full encoding.");
         return (returnLength);      // Pass the error along.
      }
      madeEncoding = true;
   } else {
      myEncoding = encodingArray;
   }

   *outputHandle = FontToHandle(theFont, myEncoding);
   if (madeEncoding) DisposePtr((Ptr)myEncoding);

   status = MemError();
   if (status == noErr) {
      status = GXGetGraphicsError(nil);
      if (status != noErr) {
         DisposeHandle(*outputHandle);
         *outputHandle = nil;
      }
   }
   return (status);
}
You may want to have HandleSpoolProc (which is called by GXFlattenFont and included on the CD) spool directly to the printer via picture comments. This way you won't need memory available to hold the font data at the intermediate steps.

DOWNLOADING HAPPINESS

The new font downloading method takes a little more work but produces better results in your printer font handling. You can easily send needed fonts to the printer, either the whole font or only the characters you'll be using. As a side benefit, you get support for two-byte font systems without having to write custom code for handling the large fonts or, worse yet, having to depend on the fonts being installed on the printer in a specific manner. Even if you're not ready to add QuickDraw GX imaging to your application today, adding QuickDraw GX compatibility improves the printing experience for your customers.

DAVE POLASCHEK recently relocated to California to join Apple's Developer Technical Support group. He's been told that supporting printing leads to hair loss and insanity. Dave previously lived in beautiful sunny Minnesota, and wonders if he'll get used to the harsh San Francisco Bay Area winters before he's bald and crazy, or if it's already too late.*

Thanks to Dan Lipton for providing the idea and core code illustrating the new font downloading method, and to Pete "Luke" Alexander, Dave Hersey, and Dan Lipton for reviewing this column.*

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

pwSafe 4.0.1 - Secure password managemen...
pwSafe provides simple and secure password management across devices and computers. pwSafe uses iCloud to keep your password databases backed-up and synced between Macs and iOS devices. It is... Read more
WALTR 1.5.4 - Drag-and-drop any media fi...
WALTR is designed to make it easy to upload and convert any music or video file to an iPad or iPhone format for native playback. It supports a huge variety of media file types, including MP3, MP4,... Read more
Audio Hijack 3.1 - Record and enhance au...
Audio Hijack (was Audio Hijack Pro) drastically changes the way you use audio on your computer, giving you the freedom to listen to audio when you want and how you want. Record and enhance any audio... Read more
PopChar 7.1 - Floating window shows avai...
We're also selling a 5-license family pack for only $25.99! PopChar helps you get the most out of your font collection. With its crystal-clear interface, PopChar X provides a frustration-free way to... Read more
BBEdit 11.1.1 - Powerful text and HTML e...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more
Picasa 3.9.139 - Organize, edit, and sha...
Picasa and Picasa Web Albums allows you to organize, edit, and upload your photos to the Web from your computer in quick, simple steps. Arrange your photos into folders and albums and erase their... Read more
Mac DVDRipper Pro 5.0.5 - Copy, backup,...
Mac DVDRipper Pro is the DVD backup solution that lets you protect your DVDs from scratches, save your batteries by reading your movies from your hard disk, manage your collection with just a few... Read more
NetShade 6.2 - Browse privately using an...
This promotion is for NetShade and 1 year of Proxy and VPN services NetShade is an anonymous proxy and VPN app+service for Mac. Unblock your Internet through NetShade's high-speed proxy and VPN... Read more
CrossOver 14.1.3 - Run Windows apps on y...
CrossOver can get your Windows productivity applications and PC games up and running on your Mac quickly and easily. CrossOver runs the Windows software that you need on Mac at home, in the office,... Read more
Little Snitch 3.5.3 - Alerts you about o...
Little Snitch gives you control over your private outgoing data. Track background activity As soon as your computer connects to the Internet, applications often have permission to send any... Read more

Block Fortress has a Big New Update for...
Block Fortress is a survival-style game that's as fun as it is blocky. It's also just gotten a rather sizeable update that adds a lot more cool stuff. [Read more] | Read more »
Simple and Surreal Star Base Sim rymdkap...
I really like rymdkapsel. Not just because I'm a sucker for games that are cleverly simple or highly stylisitc, but because it's fun and challenging. Actually it's extremely challenging, which is why I was excited to learn that it's getting a couple... | Read more »
Check out the anticipated Angel Stone in...
Fincon has finally revealed Angel Stone in action in the first ever official gameplay trailer for the anticipated hack and slasher. Angel Stone is set in a post-apocalyptic world in which humanity is in danger of being wiped out by the demonic... | Read more »
Moleskine Timepage is an All-New Calenda...
Moleskine Timepage is a bit of a departure for the notebook manufacturer (since it has little to do with notebooks), but it certainly carries their simple and elegant style quite well. [Read more] | Read more »
Jog on Over and Check Out the New Runtas...
Runtastic has put out a fair number of apps to help you sleep, track excercise, and train various parts of your body. Now it's time for your legs to have their own time in the spotlight with Runtastic Leg Trainer. [Read more] | Read more »
It's Lights Out in the Upcoming Pla...
Ember’s Journey is a stark puzzle platformer with a twist: the entire game is played in darkness. The only light you can see by is the one emanating from your own character. [Read more] | Read more »
MooVee - Your Movies Guru (Entertainmen...
MooVee - Your Movies Guru 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Entertainment Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: MooVee helps you effortlessly manage your movies, on your iPhone. | Read more »
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions (Games)
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Enjoy the next chapter in the award-winning Geometry Wars franchise and enjoy stunning, console-quality... | Read more »
CHAOS RINGS Ⅲ (Games)
CHAOS RINGS Ⅲ 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $19.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: The newest addition to the popular smartphone RPG series is finally here! ・CHAOS RINGS Overview | Read more »
The Popular Insight Series of Travel Gui...
Getting around in a country when you can't understand the primary language can be tough. Fortunately there are several options available to help wold travellers with the important stuff like giving directions to a cab driver or asking where the... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch Retina MacBook...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $400 off original MSRP, starting at $979. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
What Would the ideal Apple Productivity Platf...
For the past four years I’ve kept a foot in both the Mac and iPad camps respectively. my daily computing hours divided about 50/50 between the two devices with remarkable consistency. However, there’... Read more
PageMeUp 1.2.1 Ten Dollar Page Layout Applica...
Paris, France-based Softobe, an OS X software development company, has announced that their PageMeUp v. 1.2.1, is available on the Mac App Store for $9.99. The license can be installed on up to 5... Read more
Eight New Products For USB Type-C Application...
Fresco Logic, specialists in advanced connectivity technologies and ICs, has introduced two new product families targeting the Type-C connector recently introduced across a number of consumer... Read more
Scripps National Spelling Bee Launches Buzzwo...
Scripps National Spelling Bee fans can monitor the action at the 2015 Spelling Bee with the new Buzzworthy app for iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices. The free Buzzworthy app provides friendly... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $120 o...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $979 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this model (except for Apple’... Read more
27-inch 3.3GHz 5K iMac on sale for $1899, $10...
B&H Photo has the new 27″ 3.3GHz 5K iMac on sale for $1899.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Save up to $50 on iPad Air 2, NY tax only, fr...
B&H Photo has iPad Air 2s on sale for up to $50 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $469 $30 off - 64GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $549.99 $50 off - 128GB iPad... Read more
Updated Mac Price Trackers
We’ve updated our Mac Price Trackers with the latest information on prices, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers: - 15″ MacBook Pros - 13″ MacBook... Read more
New 13-inch 2.9GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.9GHz/512GB Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1699.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this model from... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Program Manager, *Apple* Community Support...
**Job Summary** Apple Support Communities ( discussions. apple .com) helps customers get the most from their Apple products and services by providing access to Read more
Senior Data Scientist, *Apple* Retail - Onl...
**Job Summary** Apple Retail - Online sells Apple products to customers around the world. In addition to selling Apple products with unique services such as iPad Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
*Apple* Watch SW Application Project Manager...
**Job Summary** The Apple Watch software team is looking for an Application Engineering Project Manager to work on new projects for Apple . The successful candidate Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.