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

Tinderbox 8.1.0 - Store and organize you...
Tinderbox is a personal content management assistant. It stores your notes, ideas, and plans. It can help you organize and understand them. And Tinderbox helps you share ideas through Web journals... Read more
Microsoft Office 365, 2019 16.30 - Popul...
Microsoft Office 365. The essentials to get it all done. Unmistakably Office, designed for Mac Get started quickly with new, modern versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote-... Read more
RoboForm 8.6.5 - Password manager; syncs...
RoboForm is a password manager that offers one-click login, mobile syncing, easy form filling, and reliable security. Password Manager. RoboForm remembers your passwords so you don't have to! Just... Read more
Amazon Chime 4.26.6995 - Communications...
Amazon Chime is a communications service that transforms online meetings with a secure, easy-to-use application that you can trust. Amazon Chime works seamlessly across your devices so that you can... Read more
EarthDesk 7.4.1 - $24.99
EarthDesk replaces your static desktop picture with a rendered image of Earth showing correct sun, moon, and city illumination. With an Internet connection, EarthDesk displays near-real-time global... Read more
Boom 3D 1.3.2 - $19.99
Boom 3D is a revolutionary app with 3D Surround Sound and phenomenally rich and intense audio that is realistic and works on any headphones. Features 3D surround sound Built-in audio player... Read more
Sketch 59 - Design app for UX/UI for iOS...
Sketch is an innovative and fresh look at vector drawing. Its intentionally minimalist design is based upon a drawing space of unlimited size and layers, free of palettes, panels, menus, windows, and... Read more
Alfred 4.0.5 - Quick launcher for apps a...
Alfred is an award-winning productivity application for OS X. Alfred saves you time when you search for files online or on your Mac. Be more productive with hotkeys, keywords, and file actions at... Read more
DiskCatalogMaker 7.5.7 - Catalog your di...
DiskCatalogMaker is a simple disk management tool which catalogs disks. Simple, light-weight, and fast Finder-like intuitive look and feel Super-fast search algorithm Can compress catalog data for... Read more
Adobe Premiere Elements 2020 18.0 - Cons...
Adobe Premiere Elements just got better. Now you can create quick movies from favorite parts of your clips or tell big life stories in full-on productions. Add motion inside movie titles, punch up... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Hello Hero All Stars receives update wit...
The first Hello Hero game hit global platforms in 2013 and proved a huge success, with developer Fincon adding two more entries to this popular series of casual RPG games since. Released in June this year, Hello Hero All Stars brings many of the... | Read more »
Zombieland: Double Tapper, a cartoon idl...
Zombieland: Double Tapper is the idle RPG tie-in to the upcoming Zombieland: Double Tap. Oddly, it's one of two different Zombieland games launching today, with the other being the Switch title Zombieland: Double Tap - Road Trip. [Read more] | Read more »
Rusty Lake's The White Door launche...
Rusty Lake and Second Maze's intriguing point-and-click adventure game, The White Door, is now up for pre-order on the App Store. This one sees you playing as Robert Hill, a mental health patient who is suffering from severe memory loss. The game... | Read more »
Hellrule is an auto-runner inspired by G...
Hellrule is an upcoming auto-runner game from independent developer Pedrocorp where players will take control of a dapperly dressed gentlemen who comes equipped with a razor-sharp umbrella for slicing up his foes. The game will be available for... | Read more »
Grobo is a gravity bending puzzle platfo...
Grobo is a 2D puzzle platformer that marks the first release from developers Hot Chocolate Games. You'll find yourself manipulating gravity as you make your through this title that's available now for iOS and Android. [Read more] | Read more »
Adrenaline, Compulsive Entertainment’s h...
Compulsive Entertainment’s high-octane arcade racer, Adrenaline, has now made its way to the App Store following a successful launch on Google Play. It’s a ton of challenging, fast-paced fun, boasting easy-to-learn controls and a varied selection... | Read more »
Mario Kart Tour is adding Super Mario Ga...
Earlier today on Twitter, Nintendo announced that Mario Kart Tour is getting a new racer and track. Fans of Super Mario Galaxy will be pleased to hear that Rosalina is the first post-launch character being added, while the iconic Rainbow Road is... | Read more »
$100,000 up for grabs at World of Tanks...
The fourth annual Blitz Twister Cup will be held in Minsk (Belarus) on November 9th. For those not in the know, the Blitz Twister Cup is an eSports championship for the hugely popular World of Tanks Blitz. [Read more] | Read more »
Brown Dust’s crossover event with That T...
Brown Dust, Neowiz’s epic fantasy RPG, is no stranger to special events, though its latest crossover might be its most exciting yet. On top of a challenging new dungeon, fan-favourite characters from the hit anime series That Time I Got... | Read more »
Call of Duty Mobile first impressions: A...
After many months of waiting, Tencent and Activision’s Call of Duty Mobile is finally out. The ambitious twitch shooter looks to bring the core COD experience to mobile with few concessions. Achieving such a goal is no small feat, even with all... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Save up to $30 on Apple’s AirPods at these re...
Amazon is offering discounts on new 2019 Apple AirPods ranging up to $30 off MSRP. Shipping is free: – AirPods with Charging Case: $144 $15 off MSRP – AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $169 $30... Read more
Save $15 on Apple Watch Series 5 models on Wa...
Walmart has new Apple Watch Series 5 models on sale for $15 off Apple’s MSRP on their online store. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for online orders only... Read more
Save $750 on the base 8-Core 27″ iMac Pro wit...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 27″ 3.2GHz 8-Core iMac Pros available for $4249 including free shipping. Their price is $750 off the cost of new models. A standard Apple one-year warranty is included... Read more
Apple continues to offer 11″ iPad Pros, refur...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 11″ iPad Pros available on their online store for up to $220 off the cost of new models. Prices start at $679. Each iPad comes with a standard Apple one-year warranty... Read more
Get Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones today for...
Amazon has Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones in stock and on sale today for $139.99 shipped. Their price is $60 off Apple’s MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model from any of... Read more
Sale! 2019 13″ MacBook Airs for $200 off Appl...
Amazon has new 2019 13″ MacBook Airs on sale for $200 off Apple’s MSRP, with prices starting at $899, each including free shipping. Be sure to select Amazon as the seller during checkout, rather than... Read more
Verizon offers $150 discount on iPhone 8, 8 P...
Use code SMART150 at checkout at Verizon to take $150 off the price of an iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, or iPhone X. New line of service required. Their discount reduces the price of a 64GB iPhone 8 to $... Read more
38mm Apple Watch Series 3 GPS model on sale f...
Amazon has 38mm Apple Watch Series 3 GPS models available for only $189. Choose Amazon as the seller rather than a third-party, and note that Amazon stock fluctuates, so be sure to check their site... Read more
13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale today fo...
Amazon has new 2019 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB Space Gray MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off Apple’s MSRP, only $999, including free shipping. Be sure to select Amazon as the seller during checkout, rather than... Read more
Trade in your iPhone 6 at Verizon and get $10...
Holding onto an older iPhone 6 or 6s and ready to upgrade to a new Apple iPhone 11? Verizon is offering Apple’s new iPhone 11 models for $300 off MSRP to new customers with an eligible trade-in (see... Read more

Jobs Board

Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**741153BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Sales **Location Number:** 000411-Flint-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Read more
Surgical Technologist III, *Apple* Hill Sur...
Surgical Technologist III, Apple Hill Surgical Center - Full Time Tracking Code APPHILLST Job Description Surgical Technologist III Apple Hill Surgical Center 25 Read more
Geek Squad *Apple* Master Consultation Agen...
**741154BR** **Job Title:** Geek Squad Apple Master Consultation Agent **Job Category:** Services/Installation/Repair **Location Number:** Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**740900BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Store Associates **Location Number:** 000387-Randall Road-Store **Job Description:** Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**735122BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Sales **Location Number:** 000405-Saginaw-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.