The Design of Software (CLOSED)

A public forum for discussing the design of software, from the user interface to the code architecture. Now closed.

The "Design of Software" discussion group has been merged with the main Joel on Software discussion group.

The archives will remain online indefinitely.

Custom "Print To" Feature From Office Application?

I'm clueless about where to begin here.  Here's what I'd like to do:

1. From MS Office or Open Office, etc. do "File -> Print" and print to a custom "printer" (a driver I'd create/install on client PC similar to FedEx/Kinkos print or something)

2. The document would print to my printer device.  I'd like to be able to capture either a scanned image of the document so that I can annotate it later on.  I'm thinking of using the ink API's on a tablet PC. 

3. Ideally, I'd like to collect layout information about the document as its printed.  For instance, if the document has a table embedded in it, then I could capture row/column/cell information to simplify the annotations later.

I've only seen something similar to this and am not even aware of what API's/SDK's etc. I should be looking at in the COM stuff to achieve this.  If anyone can suggest some decent starting points I'd be grateful.

Monday, January 30, 2006
As the basis of a custom solution - take a look at the Redmon Redirection Port Monitor - a Google serach will find it but try . Most references couple this useful piece of software to Postscript output but it looks like you should be able to insert your own code into the sequence - or (of course) use the postscript output as the basis of your applet.
Mike Griffiths Send private email
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
If you are allowed to look at copyright source code, take a look at the RedMon port monitor, and the gsprint client application.

In fact, rather than learn from their source, you may even be able to use them as is to achieve what you want.  RedMon doesn't have an installer, so you will have to use the Windows install printer dialogue, along with one of the built-in postscript drivers, to configure it.

I have used RedMon many times in the past to create PDF documents from Word PowerPoint and Internet Explorer on Windows 2000 - it worked very well.
David Corking Send private email
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
I forgot:  if PCL, ESC/P, TIFF or some other layout language is better suited to your application, or if for some reason you don't like postscript or PDF, then just install a printer or fax driver for that type of printer when you install RedMon, to get piped output in your chosen format.
David Corking Send private email
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Hi Mike, perhaps an alternative approach would be to disregard the whole "Print To" notion, and simply import the document in question into the application.  For instance, are there any redistributable components that support converting PDF, Word, or other document formats into a parse friendly structure like XML?  Perhaps there is something in the open source world for this, as some commercial tools seem rather pricey thus far.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Unless I'm missing something, couldn't you set up the printer and put a shortcut to it in sendto?
tallywacker, SR
Tuesday, January 31, 2006

This topic is archived. No further replies will be accepted.

Other recent topics Other recent topics
Powered by FogBugz