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RE: Printer friendly output

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  • Chris Marschall
    Hello all, I m developing a book keeping application, and would like to be able to print out reports in a nice A4 formatted size page. I was wondering how this
    Message 1 of 7 , Dec 21, 2003
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      Hello all,

      I'm developing a book keeping application, and would like to be able to
      print out reports in a nice A4 formatted size page.

      I was wondering how this might be done.

      An example of what I'm trying to do would be in printing an invoice that
      appears as HTML, and just being able to choose "print page", or clicking
      on something like "printer friendly output" etc.

      What is done to the "printer friendly output" to make it format correctly?

      Any ideas of pointers to documented examples would be very helpful.

      Thanks in advance.

      Chris.

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    • Tim Pushor
      Chris, I would look into making a PDF. I have done something similar - a customer once wanted to be able to print or fax invoices from a web form, so I filled
      Message 2 of 7 , Dec 21, 2003
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        Chris,

        I would look into making a PDF.

        I have done something similar - a customer once wanted to be able to
        print or fax invoices from a web form, so I filled in postscript
        templates, and sent to mgetty+sendfax (via ghostscript) or to a local
        printer.

        This was a while ago.

        Now, I would certainly look into PDF generation (in fact, I plan on in
        the near future). There are C libraries and perl modules that will allow
        you to generate PDF's. This is (IMO) The ultimate in creating print
        ready forms.

        Tim


        Chris Marschall wrote:

        >Hello all,
        >
        >I'm developing a book keeping application, and would like to be able to
        >print out reports in a nice A4 formatted size page.
        >
        >I was wondering how this might be done.
        >
        >An example of what I'm trying to do would be in printing an invoice that
        >appears as HTML, and just being able to choose "print page", or clicking
        >on something like "printer friendly output" etc.
        >
        >What is done to the "printer friendly output" to make it format correctly?
        >
        >Any ideas of pointers to documented examples would be very helpful.
        >
        >Thanks in advance.
        >
        >Chris.
        >
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      • Fagyal, Csongor
        ... Try htmldoc . Works pretty well if your HTML is not too fancy - it converts HTML to PDF (or RTF). Doesn t know CSS, though. You can also try to use
        Message 3 of 7 , Dec 21, 2003
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          Tim Pushor wrote:

          > Chris,
          >
          > I would look into making a PDF.
          >
          > I have done something similar - a customer once wanted to be able to
          > print or fax invoices from a web form, so I filled in postscript
          > templates, and sent to mgetty+sendfax (via ghostscript) or to a local
          > printer.
          >
          > This was a while ago.
          >
          > Now, I would certainly look into PDF generation (in fact, I plan on in
          > the near future). There are C libraries and perl modules that will
          > allow you to generate PDF's. This is (IMO) The ultimate in creating
          > print ready forms.

          Try "htmldoc". Works pretty well if your HTML is not too fancy - it
          converts HTML to PDF (or RTF). Doesn't know CSS, though.

          You can also try to use XSL(T), and then have two XSL-s for the normal
          and the printer friendly representation, and the later you can convert
          to PDF (using for example the above mentioned htmldoc - or even FOP if
          you don't mind speed :-)).

          Regards,
          - Csongor


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        • Chris Marschall
          Tim, So I assume the idea is that the user clicks on print form and the script generates the PDF and sends that back to the client? They can then print the
          Message 4 of 7 , Dec 21, 2003
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            Tim,

            So I assume the idea is that the user clicks on "print form" and the
            script generates the PDF and sends that back to the client?

            They can then print the pdf from within the browser?

            Do you have any idea what kind of overhead this puts on the server?

            Thanks for the pointer, if my assumptions are correct, then yeah I think
            that this is the way to go.

            Cheers.

            Chris.


            On Sun, 21 Dec 2003, Tim Pushor wrote:

            > Chris,
            >
            > I would look into making a PDF.
            >
            > I have done something similar - a customer once wanted to be able to
            > print or fax invoices from a web form, so I filled in postscript
            > templates, and sent to mgetty+sendfax (via ghostscript) or to a local
            > printer.
            >
            > This was a while ago.
            >
            > Now, I would certainly look into PDF generation (in fact, I plan on in
            > the near future). There are C libraries and perl modules that will allow
            > you to generate PDF's. This is (IMO) The ultimate in creating print
            > ready forms.
            >
            > Tim
            >
            >
            > Chris Marschall wrote:
            >
            > >Hello all,
            > >
            > >I'm developing a book keeping application, and would like to be able to
            > >print out reports in a nice A4 formatted size page.
            > >
            > >I was wondering how this might be done.
            > >
            > >An example of what I'm trying to do would be in printing an invoice that
            > >appears as HTML, and just being able to choose "print page", or clicking
            > >on something like "printer friendly output" etc.
            > >
            > >What is done to the "printer friendly output" to make it format correctly?
            > >
            > >Any ideas of pointers to documented examples would be very helpful.
            > >
            > >Thanks in advance.
            > >
            > >Chris.
            > >
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            > >
            > >
            >
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          • Tim Pushor
            Yeah thats what I was thinking. The overhead could be significant depending on how you do it. If a less sophisticated print form is required, you would be
            Message 5 of 7 , Dec 21, 2003
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              Yeah thats what I was thinking.

              The overhead could be significant depending on how you do it. If a less
              sophisticated print form is required, you would be better off with the
              other suggestion (CSS/XSLT) which would get the browser to do the
              majority of the work.

              In my case, the print forms were used as the 'official' invoices and
              reports and thus needed to look as such.

              My approach to fill out postscript forms the pass them off to
              ghostscript was easy on the web server, but of course tough on the
              print/fax engine.

              If I were to do this today, I would look into the perl PDF generation stuff.

              Tim


              Chris Marschall wrote:

              >Tim,
              >
              >So I assume the idea is that the user clicks on "print form" and the
              >script generates the PDF and sends that back to the client?
              >
              >They can then print the pdf from within the browser?
              >
              >Do you have any idea what kind of overhead this puts on the server?
              >
              >Thanks for the pointer, if my assumptions are correct, then yeah I think
              >that this is the way to go.
              >
              >Cheers.
              >
              >Chris.
              >
              >
              >On Sun, 21 Dec 2003, Tim Pushor wrote:
              >
              >
              >
              >>Chris,
              >>
              >>I would look into making a PDF.
              >>
              >>I have done something similar - a customer once wanted to be able to
              >>print or fax invoices from a web form, so I filled in postscript
              >>templates, and sent to mgetty+sendfax (via ghostscript) or to a local
              >>printer.
              >>
              >>This was a while ago.
              >>
              >>Now, I would certainly look into PDF generation (in fact, I plan on in
              >>the near future). There are C libraries and perl modules that will allow
              >>you to generate PDF's. This is (IMO) The ultimate in creating print
              >>ready forms.
              >>
              >>Tim
              >>
              >>
              >>Chris Marschall wrote:
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >>>Hello all,
              >>>
              >>>I'm developing a book keeping application, and would like to be able to
              >>>print out reports in a nice A4 formatted size page.
              >>>
              >>>I was wondering how this might be done.
              >>>
              >>>An example of what I'm trying to do would be in printing an invoice that
              >>>appears as HTML, and just being able to choose "print page", or clicking
              >>>on something like "printer friendly output" etc.
              >>>
              >>>What is done to the "printer friendly output" to make it format correctly?
              >>>
              >>>Any ideas of pointers to documented examples would be very helpful.
              >>>
              >>>Thanks in advance.
              >>>
              >>>Chris.
              >>>
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              >>>
              >>>
              >>>
              >>>
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              >>
              >>

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            • Gregory Youngblood
              I ve seen several sites that have printer friendly output. Usually they create a separate web page, remove the menu options and other stuff from right and
              Message 6 of 7 , Dec 21, 2003
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                I've seen several sites that have "printer friendly" output. Usually they
                create a separate web page, remove the menu options and other "stuff" from
                right and left sides, and put the heading. You might play around to find the
                right "width" to display properly for most printers, but it should be
                possible. You could use a single cell table to specify width or you could
                use no table structure at all and rely on the browser to "wrap" accordingly
                for printing. I'd go with the former.

                Your not deliverying a PDF, your not going under the extra load of the
                conversion process. And, if your using a templating system to generate
                pages, the "printer friendly" page could simply be a template setup for
                printing. When the person clicks on the printer friendly page, that template
                could be used to display the content instead of the regular template for
                that page. It all depends on how your site is laid out.

                I think it makes more sense in this manner than the PDF conversion, unless
                of course you really want PDF as the output.

                Just another thought for your consideration.

                > So I assume the idea is that the user clicks on "print form"
                > and the script generates the PDF and sends that back to the client?
                >
                > They can then print the pdf from within the browser?
                >
                > Do you have any idea what kind of overhead this puts on the server?



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              • Fagyal, Csongor
                ... Yes, your milage may vary. If you are NOT generating PDF, match out for printing differences. XHTML usually prints nicer than HTML. However, if you serve
                Message 7 of 7 , Dec 21, 2003
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                  Gregory Youngblood wrote:

                  >I've seen several sites that have "printer friendly" output. Usually they
                  >create a separate web page, remove the menu options and other "stuff" from
                  >right and left sides, and put the heading. You might play around to find the
                  >right "width" to display properly for most printers, but it should be
                  >possible. You could use a single cell table to specify width or you could
                  >use no table structure at all and rely on the browser to "wrap" accordingly
                  >for printing. I'd go with the former.
                  >
                  >Your not deliverying a PDF, your not going under the extra load of the
                  >conversion process. And, if your using a templating system to generate
                  >pages, the "printer friendly" page could simply be a template setup for
                  >printing. When the person clicks on the printer friendly page, that template
                  >could be used to display the content instead of the regular template for
                  >that page. It all depends on how your site is laid out.
                  >
                  >I think it makes more sense in this manner than the PDF conversion, unless
                  >of course you really want PDF as the output.
                  >
                  >Just another thought for your consideration.
                  >
                  >
                  Yes, your milage may vary. If you are NOT generating PDF, match out for
                  printing differences. XHTML usually prints nicer than HTML. However, if
                  you serve content for visitors from different countries, and/or you want
                  to print out multiple pages, the A4 / Letter size difference will give
                  you some headaches.

                  Regards,
                  - Csongor


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