TweetFollow Us on Twitter

September 96 - Print Hints: The All-New LaserWriter Driver Version 8.4

Print Hints: The All-New LaserWriter Driver Version 8.4

Dave Polaschek

By the time you read this, version 8.4 of the LaserWriter 8 printer driver will have shipped. This driver -- LaserWriter version 8.4, for short -- is not the same old LaserWriter driver: it has new features that developers have been asking for, sports a new user interface, and beats earlier versions of the driver in the quarter mile.

Here I'll outline some of the changes -- a few minor, a few major -- that you need to be aware of for compatibility reasons. Even if you don't want to take advantage of any of the great new features, you'll at least need to address compatibility issues if any of the changes cause problems with your application.

To help you implement the new features, this column is backed up with detailed documentation on this issue's CD.

THE EXTENDED PRINT RECORD

The 120-byte print record in the previous driver version doesn't have as many free bits available as some programmers would like. So to let you save all possible printing information about a document, Apple decided to allow for extensible print records.

If all you want to do is maintain compatibility with the new driver version, you shouldn't need to change your application at all. But if you want to take advantage of the extended print record -- and implement attractive features such as access to a larger number of paper sizes, tray handling that works with the PrJobMerge function, and the ability to reliably save more user settings from the Page Setup dialog -- you do need to make some minor changes, along the following lines:

  • Because the extended print record can be any size larger than 120 bytes, your application must not make any assumptions about the record's size.

  • Although the locations of fields that are currently defined within the TPrint structure won't change, you should use PrGeneral with the extended print record opcodes (described below) to access any additional fields.

  • When using an extended print record, you'll need to call the extendPrDefault and extendPrValidate functions where you previously would have called the functions PrintDefault and PrValidate. (The new extend functions really just call PrGeneral with specific opcodes, but are more convenient to use than PrGeneral itself.) See "Extending the Print Record" on this issue's CD for more information on the extend functions and how they use the new PrGeneral opcodes.
Those who break the rules might need to make more changes. See the Print Hints column in develop Issue 26 ("The Top 10 Printing Crimes Revisited") for more information.

NEW PRGENERAL OPCODES

LaserWriter version 8.4 adds three new PrGeneral opcodes for dealing with the extended print record: kExtendPrintRecOp (which extends the print record), kGetExtendedPrintRecOp, and kSetExtendedPrintRecOp.

Table 1 gives a complete list of all the PrGeneral opcodes as of June 1996 (but be aware that printing in Mac OS 8 might not implement all of these). These opcodes are all planned to be supported by LaserWriter version 8.4, except for the ones that aren't used by LaserWriter 8 (as noted in the table). Refer to the article "Meet PrGeneral" in develop Issue 3 for more information about PrGeneral.

Table 1. The PrGeneral opcodes

Opcode Operation
4 getRslDataOp
5 setRslOp
6 draftBitsOp
7 noDraftBitsOp
8 getRotnOp
9 NoGrayScl (not used by LaserWriter 8)
10 getPSInfoOp
11 PSIntentionsOp
12 enableColorMatchingOp
13 registerProfileOp (ColorSync 1 only; not used by LaserWriter 8)
14 PSAdobeOp
15 PSPrimaryPPDOp
16 kLoadCommProcsOp
17 kUnloadCommProcsOp
18 kExtendPrintRecOp (LaserWriter version 8.4 and later only)
19 kGetExtendedPrintRecOp (LaserWriter version 8.4 and later only)
20 kPrinterDirectOpCode (not used by any LaserWriter driver)
21 kSetExtendedPrintRecOp (LaserWriter version 8.4 and later only)

NEW PRINT DIALOGS

The print dialogs have been completely redesigned for LaserWriter version 8.4.

Applications that use the approved method of extending the print dialogs will continue to function. But if your application uses a nonstandard method of extending the print dialogs, it's in trouble. The definitive source about how to extend a print dialog is PDlog Expand, available as sample code on this issue's CD and included with the Macintosh Technical Note "Print Dialogs: Adding Items" (PR 09).

The new print dialogs have a pop-up menu that lets the user select between multiple panes of the dialog. In Figure 1, the General pane has been selected from the pop-up menu. When an application adds items to the print dialog, they're added to a pane that has the name of the application. Because of this new multipane dialog, applications that extend the print dialogs in a nonstandard manner will cause many problems, such as dialog items appearing in the wrong locations, standard items being overwritten within the dialog, and standard items being drawn incorrectly.

Figure 1. The new multipane print dialog

Applications also shouldn't assume that the print dialog's foreground color is black or that the background color is white. Furthermore, when applications exit their CDEFs or user items, they should be careful to leave the foreground and background colors as they found them. Other items in the dialog rely on these colors, so if you change them the standard controls in the print dialog could take on unusual colors.

ONE-PASS PRINTING

With LaserWriter version 8.4, when background printing is disabled, printing is one-pass. This means that there are no longer any big spool files to fill up your hard drive, and the first printed page comes out of the printer more quickly (because it doesn't have to wait for the entire document to spool). The downside is that because the LaserWriter driver isn't making two passes over the data to be printed, it might not be able to perform the same optimizations on the PostScript(TM) code as when background printing is enabled.

As a result, jobs printed with background printing disabled might print more slowly, and in a few cases the final quality could suffer. With the advent of one-pass printing, if your application has its own PostScript LaserPrep dictionary, it should use the PREC 103 mechanism for this dictionary. With this mechanism, the driver downloads to the printer the PostScript dictionary contained in the PREC 103 resource before it's needed by application-generated PostScript code. If the application doesn't do this and defines its own PostScript procedures at the page level, these procedures will be undefined as part of the one-pass font-handling mechanism and you'll get PostScript errors (mostly undefined operators, because the operators you defined aren't there).

PORTIONS OF THE CODE IN SHARED LIBRARIES

Some of the functionality of LaserWriter version 8.4 has been broken out into shared libraries, including the following:
  • Converter library -- generation of PostScript code

  • PPD library -- parsing of the PostScript printer description file

  • Preferences and Collection libraries -- storage and retrieval of preferences file data

  • Downloader library -- downloading of PostScript and EPS files to a printer

  • PostScript Utilities library -- PostScript utility functions

  • Communications library -- communications
In the future, Apple may provide APIs to these shared libraries for third parties.

CHANGES TO PARSING AND HANDLING OF PPD FILES

If you're a printer developer, you should know that the way PPD files are parsed and handled has changed in LaserWriter version 8.4. Previous versions of the driver would supply a "Printer's Default" choice so that the user could choose not to decide about a certain feature and accept the default setting of the printer. With version 8.4, the driver will no longer provide this option. If PPD creators want to continue to have a Printer's Default option for a user interface feature (called UIFeature in the PPD specification), they'll have to add it to the PPD file in the list of options for that feature.

Also, common features available through the PPD file will be added to the correct pane of the print dialog. Features that aren't recognized or that are vendor-specific will be placed in their own pane. This can cause problems: if you use a nonstandard naming convention for a common feature, it will be placed with all other unknown features, and if you use a standard name for a nonstandard feature, it will probably end up in the wrong location.

One other change is that you can specify the graphic elements you'd like to use for UI features specified within the PPD file. See "LaserWriter 8.4 PPDs" on the CD for information about how to design your own pane for use with LaserWriter version 8.4. The latest Apple PPD files are the best examples of how to implement the new features.

NEW ERROR CODES

LaserWriter 8 introduced a number of new error codes, but they haven't been documented -- until now, that is. See the unofficial documentation "LaserWriter 8 Errors" on the CD. Future versions of this document will be released as Technotes. These error codes are provided for debugging purposes. Be aware that they may change in the future, so you probably don't want your application to depend on them.

WRAPPING IT UP

That's a quick rundown of the new features of the newest version of the LaserWriter driver. These features should make printing a better experience for the user, should give the developer more flexibility, and should require no changes to most applications. And to top it all off, they're cool!


    RELATED READING

    • "Print Hints: The Top Ten Printing Crimes Revisited" by Dave Polaschek, develop Issue 26.

    • "Meet PrGeneral, the Trap that Makes the Most of the Printing Manager" by Pete "Luke" Alexander, develop Issue 3.

    • Macintosh Technical Note "Print Dialogs: Adding Items" (PR 09).

    • "Extending the Print Record,""LaserWriter 8.4 PPDs," and "LaserWriter 8 Errors," all on this issue's CD.

DAVE POLASCHEK (dpolasch@apple.com) continues to be confused by California. There's nice weather when it isn't baseball season, the earth moves even when he's alone, and it's easier to find good wine than good beer. Dave works in Developer Technical Support (DTS) at Apple. If you'd like more details, look at http://www.best.com/~davep/.*

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

OmniGraffle Pro 6.1.4 - Create diagrams,...
OmniGraffle Pro helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use... Read more
OmniGraffle 6.1.4 - Create diagrams, flo...
OmniGraffle helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use Graffle to... Read more
MegaSeg 5.9.5 - Professional MP3 DJ appl...
MegaSeg is a complete solution for pro audio/video DJ mixing, radio automation, and music scheduling with rock-solid performance and an easy-to-use design. Mix with visual waveforms and Magic... Read more
MarsEdit 3.6.8 - Quick and convenient bl...
MarsEdit is a blog editor for OS X that makes editing your blog like writing email, with spell-checking, drafts, multiple windows, and even AppleScript support. It works with with most blog services... Read more
BBEdit 11.0.3 - 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
Microsoft Office Preview 15.8 - Popular...
Welcome to the new and modern Microsoft Office for Mac. You will receive regular updates automatically until the official release in the second half of 2015. With the redesigned Ribbon and your... Read more
Yosemite Cache Cleaner 9.0.5 - Clear cac...
Yosemite Cache Cleaner is an award-winning general purpose tool for OS X. YCC makes system maintenance simple with an easy point-and-click interface to many OS X functions. Novice and expert users... Read more
ExpanDrive 4.3.2 - Access cloud storage...
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more
RapidWeaver 6.0.8 - Create template-base...
RapidWeaver is a next-generation Web design application to help you easily create professional-looking Web sites in minutes. No knowledge of complex code is required, RapidWeaver will take care of... Read more
Artlantis Studio 5.1.2.7 - 3D rendering...
Artlantis Studio is a unique and ideal tool for performing very high resolution rendering easily and in real time. The new FastRadiosity engine now lets you compute images in radiosity-even in... Read more

Bored? MyLeisure FreeTime Maximizer Will...
Bored? MyLeisure FreeTime Maximizer Will Take Care of That! Posted by Jessica Fisher on March 5th, 2015 [ permalink ] iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad | Read more »
New Publisher Allstar Games Heads West w...
Allstar Games has announced its first mobile title designed for western audiences, Allstar Heroes. The game will be a massive online battle arena (MOBA) that offers dozens of heroes for you to collect and pit against your opponents. As each hero has... | Read more »
RAD Boarding Review
RAD Boarding Review By Jennifer Allen on March 5th, 2015 Our Rating: :: NEARLY RADUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad RAD Boarding isn’t quite one of the greats, but it has potential.   | Read more »
Presenting the International Mobile Gami...
11th Annual International Mobile Gaming Awards ceremony, hosted by actress Allison Haislip, gathered mobile game developers and publishers from around the world. They chose 13 winners out of the 93 nominations. British studio USTWO won the the Grand... | Read more »
AG Drive Review
AG Drive Review By Tre Lawrence on March 5th, 2015 Our Rating: :: FUTURISTIC STREET RACING.Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Futuristic racing… interstellar style.   | Read more »
GDC 2015 – Nightmare Guardians is an Int...
GDC 2015 – Nightmare Guardians is an Interesting Hybrid of MOBA and Lane Defense Posted by Rob Rich on March 5th, 2015 [ permalink ] I have to say that lane defense (i.e. | Read more »
Overkill 3 Review
Overkill 3 Review By Tre Lawrence on March 5th, 2015 Our Rating: :: WHO'S NEXT?Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Cover system gameplay in the third-person.   Developer: Craneballs Price: Free Version Reviewed: 1.1.6... | Read more »
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment A...
Warner Bros. has some exciting games coming down the pipe! | Read more »
GDC 2015 – Star Trek Timelines will Prob...
GDC 2015 – Star Trek Timelines will Probably Make Your Inner Trekkie Squeal With Glee Posted by Rob Rich on March 4th, 2015 [ permalink ] Any popular fictional universe has its fair share of fan fiction – where belo | Read more »
Protect Yourself from an Onslaught of Ca...
Surprise Attack Games has announced a Cat-astrophic new physics puzzler called Fort Meow! In the game, a young girl named Nia finds her grandfather’s journal which triggers an all mighty feline attack! Why do the cats want the journal? Who knows,... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple restocks refurbished 15-inch Retina Mac...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros, available for up to $400 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model,... Read more
Roundup of MacBook Air sale prices, models up...
B&H Photo has MacBook Airs on sale for up to $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 11″ 128GB MacBook Air: $799 100 off MSRP - 11″ 256GB MacBook Air: $999 $100... Read more
New Firstrade Mobile App Enables On-The-Go Tr...
Firstrade Securities Inc. has announced its new mobile app, which gives investors immediate access to the company’s trading platform on all mobile devices. The app was developed in-house and was... Read more
Sonnet Introduces USB 3.0 + eSATA Thunderbolt...
Sonnet has announced the launch of its new USB 3.0 + eSATA Thunderbolt Adapter for easy connectivity to USB 3.0 devices and eSATA storage, and USB 3.0 + Gigabit Ethernet Thunderbolt Adapter for easy... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished 27-inch 5K iMacs f...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMacs for $2119 including free shipping. Their price is $380 off the cost of new models, and it’s the lowest price available... Read more
Free Clean Reader Mobile App Hides Swear Word...
The new Clean Reader app, now available in the Apple App Store and Google Play, delivers the opportunity of reading any book without being exposed to profanity. By selecting how clean they want their... Read more
Kinsa Launches “Groups” App to Monitor Illnes...
Kinsa, makers of the first FDA approved app-enabled smartphone thermometer thst won the 2013 Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Grand Prize and recently appeared in Apple’s “Parenthood” TV... Read more
iPad: A More Positive Outlook – The ‘Book Mys...
It’s good to hear someone saying positive things about the iPad. I’ve been trying to bend my mind around how Apple’s tablet could have gone from zero to bestselling personal computing device on the... Read more
Mac Pros on sale for up to $279 off MSRP
Amazon has Mac Pros in stock and on sale for up to $279 off MSRP. Shipping is free: - 4-Core Mac Pro: $2725.87, $273 off MSRP (9%) - 6-Core Mac Pro: $3719.99, $279 off MSRP (7%) Read more
Sale! 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros for up to $...
B&H Photo has 13″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $205 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.6GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1219.99 save $80 - 13″ 2.... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the 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
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
…Summary** As a Specialist, you help create the energy and excitement around Apple products, providing the right solutions and getting products into customers' hands. You Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** The Apple Store is a retail environment like no other - uniquely focused on delivering amazing customer experiences. As an Expert, you introduce people 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
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.