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Printer automation progress . . . perhaps

Question asked by RickWhitelaw on Jan 22, 2010
Latest reply on Jan 26, 2010 by WoodApple


Printer automation progress . . . perhaps


I've been thinking about this for a while and I'm making some progress. I'm trying to set up, with some success, a system of automating printer selection and printing. So far I'm using Terminal commands to list and select printers, and I've set up a printing preferences file in which the user chooses various printers for different tasks. There's one awkward (?) bit so far which involves reading or copying a text string (printer_name) from a terminal window, but at least the user is informed as to how exactly the system (Mac OS X 10.6.2) sees the spelling of the devices. I'll likely find a way to automate this and do away with this user interaction. However, now I realize I'm going to have to dispense with the "Print" script step since there's no way to use it without a printer choice and the step overrides the OS level choice that's already been made. I can see my way clear to printing directly from the OS with a bit of work. My question is this (I have nearly NO knowledge of Windows OS): am I painting myself into a "Mac only" scenario? I'm being careful to use only commands recognized by CUPS but does that mean anything in the Windows world? Since it's an acronym for Common Unix Printing System (I think) I suspect Windows doesn't use it.


So far, with the above-mentioned exception, the process is invisible and fast. The user is presented with a selection of common tasks . . . this is only done once . . . such as General, Cheques/Preprinted Forms, Color, Labels and Envelopes. Each task can be assigned a printer. Several tasks can share a printer and up to five different printers can be assigned. Each print script sets a variable "$PRINTER" to the appropriate device. If there's only one printer connected all tasks are assigned the same device. A Terminal shell script (via calculated Applescript) then sets the destination printer.The user can also choose to view the print dialogs in the Print Preferences although there's not much point.


Anyway, as soon as I replace the Print script step with an OS level shell script, I believe I'll have automated printer selection that's portable and doesn't require a plug-in.


I know Windows doesn't use Applescript but surely has something comparable. It's the CUPS part that concerns me.