Multiple Record Print Strategies

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Multiple Record Print Strategies

Paul Melia
Hi All,

A client has requested for a print function that will allow them to  
select what fields they want to print, then let them select a batch  
of records and them print all of the select records at once (batch  
print)

The selectable fields and formatting the print layout page is  
straightforward as is allowing them to define the range of records  
but I am a bit stumped on how to get Lasso to "batch print" the  
entire range of the found set automagically.

Is it better to use Lasso's PDF tools to loop through the found set,  
generating pages for each record and then assemble all of the various  
PDFs into one complete PDF?
Or is dumping all of the stuff into one huge HTML/CSS page and then  
letting the web browser/OS print driver going to get the job done?

This client is coming from FileMaker & Excel, so that is their frame  
of reference.

Any and all suggestions are very warmly welcomed!

Thanks,
Paul

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Re: Multiple Record Print Strategies

Greg Willits-2
On Jan 31, 2006, at 11:26 AM, Paul Melia wrote:

> A client has requested for a print function that will allow them to  
> select what fields they want to print, then let them select a batch  
> of records and them print all of the select records at once (batch  
> print)
>
> The selectable fields and formatting the print layout page is  
> straightforward as is allowing them to define the range of records  
> but I am a bit stumped on how to get Lasso to "batch print" the  
> entire range of the found set automagically.
>
> Is it better to use Lasso's PDF tools to loop through the found  
> set, generating pages for each record and then assemble all of the  
> various PDFs into one complete PDF?
> Or is dumping all of the stuff into one huge HTML/CSS page and then  
> letting the web browser/OS print driver going to get the job done?


Web browsers still really, really suck as far as page control goes.  
So if what you're talking about is one record = one page, then the  
browser is not a viable option. I've gotten closer with a lot of  
trickery and compromises (and strict adherance to points units), but  
it's only been suitable for a few cases. Browser support for what  
exists in the CSS spec is still very inconsistent especially if you  
factor in the need to support Safari 1.2 or early 1.3 releases, early  
FFx, and IE 5 versions.

Have not tacked the whole PDF thing yet (haven't needed to), so no  
advice there.

-- gw

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Re: Multiple Record Print Strategies

Marc Pope-3
In reply to this post by Paul Melia
If you compose the HTML using plain ol' HTML and use NO CSS (only tables)
you can use Steffan's PDF tags to accomplish this. It's not the easiest
thing in the world, but it is doable.

Also, you could compose something in Filemaker that would import the data
via ODBC, format it and print then dump the data. That might be more what he
is used to, but more complicated to maintain.

-HTH
    Marc


On 1/31/06 2:26 PM, "Paul Melia" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi All,
>
> A client has requested for a print function that will allow them to
> select what fields they want to print, then let them select a batch
> of records and them print all of the select records at once (batch
> print)
>
> The selectable fields and formatting the print layout page is
> straightforward as is allowing them to define the range of records
> but I am a bit stumped on how to get Lasso to "batch print" the
> entire range of the found set automagically.
>
> Is it better to use Lasso's PDF tools to loop through the found set,
> generating pages for each record and then assemble all of the various
> PDFs into one complete PDF?
> Or is dumping all of the stuff into one huge HTML/CSS page and then
> letting the web browser/OS print driver going to get the job done?
>
> This client is coming from FileMaker & Excel, so that is their frame
> of reference.
>
> Any and all suggestions are very warmly welcomed!
>
> Thanks,
> Paul
>
> ============================================
> Attend the Lasso Summit
> February 17-19, 2006 in Fort Lauderdale, FL
> http://www.LassoSummit.com/
> ============================================



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Re: Multiple Record Print Strategies

Viaduct Productions
In reply to this post by Paul Melia
Steffan's PDF tags include some page control tags.  You'll have to RTFM, but
it is well structured so that it isn't a huge mess to absorb.

I'd try PDF first, then move to a text file.  There are markup tags for RTF
formatting, as I've coughed out a couple reports this way, and that can
separate records that don't flow easily (1 record = 1 page).

Cheers


Greg Willits skrev:

> Have not tacked the whole PDF thing yet (haven't needed to), so no
> advice there.



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Re: Multiple Record Print Strategies

Johan Solve
In reply to this post by Paul Melia
2006/1/31, Marc Pope <[hidden email]>:
> Also, you could compose something in Filemaker that would import the data
> via ODBC, format it and print then dump the data. That might be more what he
> is used to, but more complicated to maintain.

Or a bit simpler by importing from XML source via http - just have
Lasso output a suitable page formatted as XML in a format that FM
likes, then import that straight into FM (6 or later). To see how to
format it, export some sample records from FM in XML format.

> There are markup tags for RTF formatting

Interesting - is there a way to then turn rtf into pdf?


--
     Johan Sölve    [FSA Partner, Lasso Partner]
     Web Application/Lasso/FileMaker Developer
     MONTANIA SOFTWARE & SOLUTIONS
http://www.montania.se   mailto:[hidden email]
 (spam-safe email address, replace '-' with 'a')

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Re: Multiple Record Print Strategies

Clive Bruton
In reply to this post by Paul Melia

On 1 Feb 2006, at 13:35, Johan Solve wrote:

> Interesting - is there a way to then turn rtf into pdf?

I think you can do this from the command line in MacOS X, there's an  
AppleScript here with a discussion about doing it:

        http://bbs.applescript.net/viewtopic.php?id=13916


-- Clive

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Re: Multiple Record Print Strategies

Paul Melia
In reply to this post by Paul Melia
Thank you Greg, Marc, Rich and Johan for all the great insights.

I am going to try the PDF route since it seems to have the most  
options (more tags, etc, available) and just about every OS and  
browser handles PDFs similarly.

This project is one of those "let's replace the desktop database with  
something web-based" jobs and more and more, I am encountering these  
requests for printing options. It's only my guess, but if AJAX and  
other strategies/frameworks continue to push/develop into desktop  
replacements, then the ability to print reliably and with some level  
of control is going to become more urgent and a central issue.

Thanks again everyone!
Paul

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Re: Multiple Record Print Strategies

Johan Solve
In reply to this post by Paul Melia
2006/2/1, Clive Bruton <[hidden email]>:
> I think you can do this from the command line in MacOS X, there's an
> AppleScript here with a discussion about doing it:
>
>         http://bbs.applescript.net/viewtopic.php?id=13916

Hehe, I just found that page too... Tried this:
/System/Library/Printers/Libraries/convert -f test.rtf -o test.pdf -j
"application/pdf"

I get no errors, but no output file either... Haven't found any
relevant logs either.


--
     Johan Sölve    [FSA Partner, Lasso Partner]
     Web Application/Lasso/FileMaker Developer
     MONTANIA SOFTWARE & SOLUTIONS
http://www.montania.se   mailto:[hidden email]
 (spam-safe email address, replace '-' with 'a')

============================================
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Re: Multiple Record Print Strategies

Johan Solve
In reply to this post by Paul Melia
2006/2/1, Johan Solve <[hidden email]>:
> Hehe, I just found that page too... Tried this:
> /System/Library/Printers/Libraries/convert -f test.rtf -o test.pdf -j
> "application/pdf"
>
> I get no errors, but no output file either... Haven't found any
> relevant logs either.

ok, -o must have a full path. This works:

/System/Library/Printers/Libraries/convert -f test.rtf -o ~/test.pdf

Interesting!

--
     Johan Sölve    [FSA Partner, Lasso Partner]
     Web Application/Lasso/FileMaker Developer
     MONTANIA SOFTWARE & SOLUTIONS
http://www.montania.se   mailto:[hidden email]
 (spam-safe email address, replace '-' with 'a')

============================================
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