1 2 Previous Next 21 Replies Latest reply on Aug 2, 2014 1:22 PM by Stephen Huston

    Printing from iPads

    LabsRock

      We're looking for a printing option for iPads/Go when in the field. We've been using a Brother Pocket Jet thermal printer, however the last iOS update has caused some driver issues that Brother seems unable to get sorted out. We've found a way to work around this, but it involves a lot of "back and forth" and is anything but intuitive for the user. It also can add a couple of minutes to the time required to print an invoice. We've considered switching to Pro on a Windows 8 tablet, but signature caputre is also critical.

       

      If anyone has a workable solution to the portable printing issues I'd welcome your input.

       

      Thanks in advance,

       

      Craig

        • 1. Re: Printing from iPads
          rgordon

          I would defintiely try to solve the print issue before looking at Windows 8.  My ipad solutions don't run nearly as nice on a Win 8 tablet as they do on an iPad. If you switch to Win 8 here is a solution for the signature.  https://www.geistinteractive.com/products/gosign-filemaker-signature-capture/

          • 2. Re: Printing from iPads
            LabsRock

            Thanks for your response.  Nobody really wants to switch to the Windows 8 tablets, but we've been battling this printer issue for months now and have held off updating any additional iPads because of it.

             

            This plug-in looks good, so I'm sure we'll at least give it a test drive.  If we can capture signatures on a Windows 8 tablet without having to buy additional software (and get a seamless printing solution), it think the response is going to be "why not switch?"

             

            Thanks again,

             

            Craig

            • 3. Re: Printing from iPads
              taylorsharpe

              Is it possible to submit print jobs to a dumb client machine on the network?  I would probably look at using the Save as Snap shot and a table that records what needs printed and where and a script that runs regularly looking for any print jobs.  That way the iPad doesn't handle the printing, just submitting the job to be printed to the dumb FileMaker pro client machine. 

              • 4. Re: Printing from iPads
                rgordon

                You'll know why not to switch as soon as your user switch from running FM GO on an iPad to running FileMaker Pro on a windows tablet.  Have you looked at trying another printer?  Keep in mind if you switch to a Windows Tablet, you will also need to buy FM Pro licenses for the tablets.

                • 5. Re: Printing from iPads
                  ericjungemann

                  Craig,

                  I'm not sure if your Go app is standalone, but if there is a Mac around that can be a print server (I'm using the term loosely), give Printopia a try.  We use it for our Dymo printers that are not Airprint capable.

                  Eric

                  • 6. Re: Printing from iPads
                    bigtom

                    I also use Printopia, but it has issues with scaling sometimes. If you have a Mac around I also recommend it. Printing directly out of FMGo and FMPro has been a thorn in my side. They way FM Pro stores print setting does not allow for easy network printing if there are two printers on the network.

                     

                    For one printer I have to save the layout report as a PDF and open with preview and print from there because Filemaker sends some part of another printer's print settings and causes an error. This had to do with the print resolution. The manufacturer ctually guaranteed the printer was FileMaker compliant. When I took them the problem they said since it works fine if you print only from one computer with Filemaker and the printer is the only printer connected it is not their problem. Filemaker is the only application with this problem.

                     

                    Not related directly to FMGo but just letting you know FileMaker print process is not "normal" and does not function as you might expect. Strange errors seem to pop up with printing for me all the time. Still working through one that I may figure out in the next week or so. I really wish FileMaker would fix the print problems, but they just dont seem to care and suggest I find a different printer that works better.

                    • 7. Re: Printing from iPads
                      taylorsharpe

                      FM has always had print issues as far as I am concerned.  What FM does when printing is it rastorizes an entire graphic of the page and sends it... I think some version of post script or PDF (which is a flavor of post script).  More graphically supported  rinters that support post script seem to always do best.  But so many people buy inexpensive printers or ones that focus on other rasterizations like PCL and they don't do well with FileMaker because of that.  So, my recommendation is that you look for printers that natively support post script and you'll be much more successful with FileMaker printing.  However, where I have often run into printing problems with FileMaker, I find that exporting as PDF and then opening with the PDF reader and printing from it solves many problems.  It just is a headache of an extra step. 

                      • 8. Re: Printing from iPads
                        bigtom

                        That is essentially what I had to do. I use preview to open and print the PDF via script. It is a hassle, but we have a needed dot matrix printer that is a max input of 180dpi and Filemaker kept sending a raterized image of 600dpi because that is the setting on the other network printer. This did not work. Removing all the printers and installing just the dot matrix worked everytime. the problem seems to come from the client and printing over the network still had the error since the other clients needed to print from the 600dpi printer as well.

                         

                        I am glad to hear I am not the only one with this issue.

                        • 9. Re: Printing from iPads
                          BowdenData

                          For iOS printing, there is the hardware print server box from Lantronix. I have not used this product, but every review I recall reading in the past, gave it high marks.

                           

                          http://www.lantronix.com/it-management/xprintserver/xprintserver.html

                           

                          HTH.

                           

                          Doug

                          • 10. Re: Printing from iPads
                            LabsRock

                            Thanks Doug and others for your response.  I guess what may not have come across in my original posting is that this needs to be a mobile solution.  We have Techs in the field and they, ideally, need to print a copy of the service report and give it to the customer.  The Brother Pocket Jet thermal printer had been working well for us, but when the OS was updated on some of our iPads things stopped working.  Brother has indicated they are aware of the problem, but feel it is an Apple issue.

                             

                            Having said all that, the Lantronix xprintserver maybe adaptable for us, but would require the Techs to carry around two additional pieces of hardware (the xprintserver and a battery operated wireless router).  We're still evaluating the feasibility and cost effectiveness of this option.

                             

                            Given the value of iPads to a "mobile workforce" I'm surprised this is such an issue.  The Brother Pocket Jet was our best, almost only option.  Seems like there'd be a relatively high demand for a mobile wireless printer that could work with an iPad.  It makes me feel like I'm missing some easy solution that just hasn't become apparent.  But then perhaps people do use their iPads for more than work and printing isn't such a priority.

                             

                            Craig

                            • 11. Re: Printing from iPads
                              BowdenData

                              Craig,

                               

                              Understand. Classic case of me not reading the original post and just chiming in when I saw the keywords of iOS and Printing.

                               

                              Doug

                              • 12. Re: Printing from iPads
                                JimBrear

                                Hi all, I work most of the time in the Windows environment. For to last 2-3 years Apple have had a huge opportunity to make inroads into that space in the mobile computing realm. However at the 85 % mark in many projects you hit a brick wall because what you want to achieve is not available without having to jump through all sorts of hoops. How fundamental is a simple method for printing from an iPad in the field?  This is stuff Apple should make sure is available. There are a million it departments itching to roll out Window 8 tablets. Apple should be afraid.

                                 

                                Sent from my iPad (which I love with a passion)

                                • 13. Re: Printing from iPads
                                  lavendt

                                  I have used the xPrint server, both versions, and they work very good.

                                  Be aware that it does not support every printer, though the list of supported printers is very long.

                                  I had some speed issues with a STAR reciept printer, but have worked with their engineering department to make their firmware better at handling this.

                                  The support is very good.

                                  • 14. Re: Printing from iPads
                                    lavendt

                                    While I hear that you want printing, I also hear that you sometimes need to hand a report to the customer.

                                    I have created a handful of GO solutions, where we also needed to hand a report to the customer.

                                    However, we decided to create a pdf and send it to the customer on email.

                                    This approach saved us from mobile printing hazzles and also saves the environment, which is an important point.

                                    While it is not up to me to lecture you on how your workflow and policies should be, I would however, at least suggest that you gave such option a thought. Saving the environment is a valid concern and it makes most customers accept that you deliver e.g. reports in digital way.

                                    With an emailing approach, not only are you saving the environment, but you also saves a lot of money and problems, which in the end, will benefit your customers.

                                    At least, I have not had problems explaining this approach to my customers, nor their end customers. But that might be different with yours.

                                    1 2 Previous Next