Printing API and Attributes

Discussion in 'Java' started by Marian Schedenig, Oct 2, 2006.

  1. Hi!

    Forgive me for posting this twice; I originally sent it as a reply to an
    older (unresolved) thread, but perhaps that was a bad idea and I do have
    a chance to get answers in a new thread.

    I can print .ps files with no problems on my windows box at work, but
    the printer completely ignores all attributes I specify.

    The printer is a HP LaserJet 1320 PS. It correctly gives me a list of
    media trays. But regardless of which tray I select, or what orientation
    or number of copies, I always get exactly one printout in portrait mode
    from the standard tray. Now the printer really has only one tray plus a
    manual feed, but I figure even if all other reported trays are
    redirected to the standard tray by the driver, at least the manual feed
    should work separately - and if not that, I'd still expect it to handle
    at least the Copies attribute correctly.

    On my Linux box at home my test program doesn't even list any printers,
    but perhaps that's because it doesn't see my CUPS server address
    configured through KDE; I'll have to try the test prog directly on the

    Here's the code I use for printing:

    public void print(PrintService ps, MediaTray mt, int copies, boolean
    landscape, InputStream in) throws PrintException
    DocPrintJob pj = ps.createPrintJob();
    DocFlavor flavor = DocFlavor.INPUT_STREAM.AUTOSENSE;
    Doc doc = new SimpleDoc(in, flavor, null);
    PrintRequestAttributeSet attributes = new

    if (mt != null)

    attributes.add(new Copies(copies));


    pj.print(doc, attributes);

    I've been scouting the net for days, but I can't find any concrete
    information on this (it seems people had unresolved problems with
    printing until Java 5, and since then hardly anyone has posted news
    about it).

    Marian Schedenig, Oct 2, 2006
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  2. Marian Schedenig

    Ian Wilson Guest

    Marian Schedenig wrote:

    Firstly: I have written Java apps which successfully print Postscript
    files to a HP 1320, however I am relatively new to Java so beware:
    Do you mean your programs reads a disk file that contains Postscript?
    If the printer is a Postscript printer and the Java print system
    AUTOSENSEs that your input stream is postscript - I wonder how the Java
    print stream can possibly insert the appropriate setpagedevice
    statements into the appropriate place in the existing Postscript from
    the InputStream. This isn't trivial for arbitrary Postscript files and I
    wouldn't be surprised if the Java print system didn't attempt it.
    What is in the InputStream?
    I'd do a System.out.println("Media tray '"+mt.someMethod()+"'"); to see
    if mt contains what you think it does.

    You also need to be sure that the 1320 doesn't simply switch to tray 2
    if it thinks tray 1 (manual feed) is empty or if you haven't explicitly
    told it to wait for manual feed.

    I'd be inclined to get the app to print to file using the Windows driver
    for the 1320 and compare that with whatever is in the inputstream (which
    I'd simplify for testing purposes).
    Ian Wilson, Oct 3, 2006
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  3. Marian Schedenig

    Ian Wilson Guest

    I tried your code. Try inserting code like this in the relevant places

    if (! ps.isAttributeValueSupported(
    flavor, aset)) {
    System.out.println("...wont do MediaTray.TOP");

    It suggests to me that you'll need to embed the Postscript directives in
    the inputstream yourself.
    Ian Wilson, Oct 3, 2006
  4. Well, the printing bit does work, but I always get exactly one copy from
    tray 1.
    Exactly. I create an InputStream from a .ps file and put it in a
    I've now changed the program to always use
    DocFlavor.INPUT_STREAM.POSTSCRIPT. The only change is that it now
    (correctly) only lists PS-capable printers.
    FileInputStream in = new FileInputStream(myPsFile);
    I've done that. The media tray instance is taken from a query that lists
    the printers trays, and according to my Eclipse debugger, it's still the
    correct tray instance when it's store in the attributes map.
    Yes, that worried me a bit. However, the printer seems to have only tray
    1 and tray 1 (manual feed) - so I'd expect at least manual feed to
    behave differently.

    In any case, that's why I added the Copies attribute to my test app -
    but I always get exactly 1 printout.
    I'd be happy to e-mail you a ZIP of my program if you like?
    I've modified the program to only include attributes the printer
    supports, and skip others plus display a message for those. Result: The
    printer claims to accept the tray and copies attributes, I only skip the
    orientation flag. Still, no change in the printer's actual behaviour.

    Are you suggesting that postscript printing can't handle attributes *at
    all*? (In that case, I'd consider the API to be broken, since the
    printer service *does* claim to support these attributes in .ps mode).

    Thanks a lot!
    Marian Schedenig, Oct 4, 2006
  5. Marian Schedenig

    Ian Wilson Guest

    I've spent too long on this already :-(
    I wasn't suggesting that, but I am coming to that point of view.

    I've written a few test programs and got nowhere with this.

    This problem might only apply when you are simply passing a file (or
    byte array) to be printed. Much of the Java printing API seems to expect
    you to do page rendering in your Java app. Perhaps things work better
    when you do?

    When I run the example at
    I can ask for, and get, two copies, landscape printed to an HP1320 using
    the Postscript drivers.

    More investigation needed! Meanwhile I have other things to do.
    Ian Wilson, Oct 6, 2006
  6. Marian Schedenig

    Chris Uppal Guest

    IIRC, printer tray selection, and things like that, are implemented in
    PostScript printers by commands contained in the PostScript program itself.
    So, if you were sending graphics commands to the printer driver (without caring
    whether it was a PostScript printer), it would add the necessary tray-selection
    commands automatically.

    I find it quite plausible that, when you just send a PostScript file to Java
    and/or the real printer driver, it sends that on "raw" to the printer, without
    changing it in any way. It would certainly be possible for it to add the
    necessary tray selection commands to the PostScript text, but I can easily
    imagine that either it just doesn't bother at all, or (perhaps more likely)
    that it only does so if the PostScript text conforms to the DSC (Document
    Structuring Conventions).

    I don't suppose that helps any, but it might explain the problem...

    -- chris
    Chris Uppal, Oct 6, 2006
  7. Unfortunately, the specific task we have to do is printing "externally"
    generated (through Apache FOP) .ps documents. :)
    Thanks a lot for your help. I might not have a solution, but at least I
    know I'm not the only one who can't get this working.

    Marian Schedenig, Oct 6, 2006
  8. Ok, that would explain a lot.
    It helps at least a bit: I now know we have to find another way around
    the problem. :)

    Marian Schedenig, Oct 6, 2006
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