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/.*

 
AAPL
$102.50
Apple Inc.
+0.25
MSFT
$45.43
Microsoft Corpora
+0.55
GOOG
$571.60
Google Inc.
+2.40

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

pwSafe 3.1 - Secure password management...
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
StatsBar 1.8 - Monitor system processes...
StatsBar gives you a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the following areas of your Mac: CPU usage Memory usage Disk usage Network and bandwidth usage Battery power and health (MacBooks only)... Read more
Path Finder 6.5.5 - Powerful, award-winn...
Path Finder is a file browser that combines the familiar Finder interface with the powerful utilities and innovative features. Just a small selection of the Path Finder 6 feature set: Dual pane... Read more
QuarkXPress 10.2.1 - Desktop publishing...
With QuarkXPress, you can communicate in all the ways you need to -- and always look professional -- in print and digital media, all in a single tool. Features include: Easy to Use -- QuarkXPress is... Read more
Skype 6.19.0.450 - Voice-over-internet p...
Skype allows you to talk to friends, family and co-workers across the Internet without the inconvenience of long distance telephone charges. Using peer-to-peer data transmission technology, Skype... Read more
VueScan 9.4.41 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
Cloud 3.0.0 - File sharing from your men...
Cloud is simple file sharing for the Mac. Drag a file from your Mac to the CloudApp icon in the menubar and we take care of the rest. A link to the file will automatically be copied to your clipboard... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.1.2 - Free Open Source o...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
SlingPlayer Plugin 3.3.20.505 - Browser...
SlingPlayer is the screen interface software that works hand-in-hand with the hardware inside the Slingbox to make your TV viewing experience just like that at home. It features an array of... Read more
Get Lyrical 3.8 - Auto-magically adds ly...
Get Lyrical auto-magically add lyrics to songs in iTunes. You can choose either a selection of tracks, or the current track. Or turn on "Active Tagging" to get lyrics for songs as you play them.... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Rhonna Designs Magic (Photography)
Rhonna Designs Magic 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Want to sprinkle *magic* on your photos? With RD Magic, you can add colors, filters, light leaks, bokeh, edges,... | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps: August 25-29, 2014
Shiny Happy App Reviews   | Read more »
Qube Kingdom – Tips, Tricks, Strategies,...
Qube Kingdom is a tower defense game from DeNA. You rally your troops – magicians, archers, knights, barbarians, and others – and fight against an evil menace looking to dominate your kingdom of tiny squares. Planning a war isn’t easy, so here are a... | Read more »
Qube Kingdom Review
Qube Kingdom Review By Nadia Oxford on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: KIND OF A SQUARE KINGDOMUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Qube Kingdom has cute visuals, but it’s a pretty basic tower defense game at heart.   | Read more »
Fire in the Hole Review
Fire in the Hole Review By Rob Thomas on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: WALK THE PLANKUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Seafoam’s Fire in the Hole looks like a bright, 8-bit throwback, but there’s not enough booty to... | Read more »
Alien Creeps TD is Now Available Worldwi...
Alien Creeps TD is Now Available Worldwide Posted by Ellis Spice on August 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Dodo Master Review
Dodo Master Review By Jordan Minor on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: NEST EGGiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad Dodo Master is tough but fair, and that’s what makes it a joy to play.   | Read more »
Motorsport Manager Review
Motorsport Manager Review By Lee Hamlet on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: MARVELOUS MANAGEMENTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Despite its depth and sense of tactical freedom, Motorsport Manager is one of the most... | Read more »
Motorsport Manager – Beginner Tips, Tric...
The world of Motorsport management can be an unforgiving and merciless one, so to help with some of the stress that comes with running a successful race team, here are a few hints and tips to leave your opponents in the dust. | Read more »
CalPal Update Brings the App to 2.0, Add...
CalPal Update Brings the App to 2.0, Adds Lots of New Stuff Posted by Ellis Spice on August 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Are We Now In The Post-Post-PC Era?
A longtime and thoroughgoing laptop aficionado, I was more than a little dismayed by Steve Jobs’s declaration back in 2010 when he sprang the iPad on an unsuspecting world. that we’d entered a “post-... Read more
PC Outlook Improves, But 2014 Shipments Still...
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, worldwide PC shipments are expected to fall by -3.7 percent in 2014. To hat’s actually an improvement from the... Read more
IDC Lowers Tablet Sales Projections for 2014...
Following a second consecutive quarter of softer than expected demand, International Data Corporation (IDC) has lowered its worldwide tablet plus 2-in-1 forecast for 2014 to 233.1 million units. The... Read more
Apple now offering refurbished 21-inch 1.4GHz...
The Apple Store is now offering Apple Certified Refurbished 21″ 1.4GHz iMacs for $929 including free shipping plus Apple’s standard one-year warranty. Their price is $170 off the cost of new models,... Read more
Save $50 on the 2.5GHz Mac mini, on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 2.5GHz Mac mini on sale for $549.99 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP, and B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software. NY sales tax only. Read more
Save up to $300 on an iMac with Apple refurbi...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $300 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. These are the best prices on... Read more
The Rise of Phablets
Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group, a businesses and technology consulting firm focused solely on the financial services industry, has released an infographic depicting the convergence of... Read more
Bad Driver Database App Allows Good Drivers t...
Bad Driver Database 1.4 by Facile Group is a new iOS and Android app that lets users instantly input and see how many times a careless, reckless or just plain stupid driver has been added to the... Read more
Eddy – Cloud Music Player for iPhone/iPad Fre...
Ukraine based CapableBits announces the release of Eddy, its tiny, but smart and powerful cloud music player for iPhone and iPad that allows users to stream or download music directly from cloud... Read more
A&D Medical Launches Its WellnessConnecte...
For consumers and the healthcare providers and loved ones who care for them, A&D Medical, a leader in connected health and biometric measurement devices and services, has launched its... 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* 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* 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* 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
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.