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Anonymous
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calgary,alberta
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Yikes! I need some help on this one. Smile

OK, so I wrote the software for a local companies intranet and they use it to track customers and then after I thought I was finished they told me they want to print reports from it. OK, no problem. I got the reports formatted and printing out as well as can be expected.

Now they ask me to allow them to print address labels from their customer database. It's not so easy. Printing with their printer using IE doesn't seem to follow any standards for margins and it also doesn't allow me to set to full-bleed using IE. Setting a slightly wider label size in the print CSS seems to help but it also breaks the three column layout and forces it to two columns (the third record in the row gets pushed to the next row).

My argument to the project manager that promised we could deliver this is that IE is not a printing tool. It is a web browser.

I had to revert to a tables based layout for their html emails, do I have to do the same with this? I don't think it will work because width and height are based on content and a long street address can cause the entire layout to go haywire.

Hugo
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Honestly! there software

Honestly! there software designed for this job isn't there? 'Right tools for the right job'

Easy to say I know but they really ought to consider doing this the proper way, rather than think that this should be possible just cos they see a screen rendition.

As for any real help Smile I would probably have to spend hours testing various layouts and have no real idea how I'd achieve this.

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Triumph (not verified)
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Hugo wrote:Honestly! there

Hugo wrote:
Honestly! there software designed for this job isn't there? 'Right tools for the right job'

You are preaching to the choir, brother. Smile

Here is the reasoning. They were using an Access database for front end and back end. Every time they had to add a new employee they'd have to license another copy of Access. Their idea was to use IE and forms on the intranet for the front end so that only one copy of Access was necessary. They like the idea and are now trying to extend it to Word and Excel and everything else.

Honestly, it's a nightmare. I need to wake up. I know it's just a bad dream ...

Hugo wrote:
As for any real help Smile I would probably have to spend hours testing various layouts and have no real idea how I'd achieve this.

You just described my day. Sad

I'm about 1 millimeter away from having it work. May as well be a mile.

jinoturistica
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access back end to a web server

Dead easy to use access as a back end to a web server. No need for the end users to ever know its Access. Normal SQL queries and updates, a few odd quirks with * instead of % but big deal. Works fine until about 20 concurrent users then starts to fade. Switching to MySQL is easy and far more reliable.

OK, so you have access. Periodically copy the database to another location and create an Access report of the contacts. Creating a report in Access is a cinch with far more flexibility than with IE or any other browser. There is even a sample db supplied with Access that specifically addresses contacts and relationships. Do not even think about opening access direct on the web server to make that report Sad

Using msWord and msExcel from a web NO! Dig around inside microsoft.com long enough and you'll find specific warnings against doing so. It's buried deep so keep looking. Based on the fact that both products are designed for users and it is next to impossible to stop them popping messages on the screen - only your server doesn't have a screen! It'll work, it'll even work for quite a while, but one day, an odd combination of factors and pop - crash. (answer based on old knowledge, maybe MS fixed all this - its your career, bud! check carefully)

None of which has anything at all to do with CSS.

Just doin' my best at www.jinotega.com
Tony Robins

Triumph (not verified)
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jinoturistica wrote:Dead

jinoturistica wrote:
Dead easy to use access as a back end to a web server. ... Switching to MySQL is easy and far more reliable. ...

Yes, this is one of those jobs where every single one of my suggestions were squashed out mere seconds after they left my mouth. Every time I turn around I hear of a new problem with the Windows Server 2003 set up. It just doesn't work the way they want it to work and it's going to end up costing them a whole lot more because they are rushing into this instead of allowing me to map out a plan. All I can do is shrug and get back to work...

Their ideas are good, just not complete, not thought through and they just want microsoft's name on the project for some God forsaken reason. I think maybe the drank the Balmer Koolaid and they just don't trust open source such as Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. I've given up on trying to correct any wrong thinking and I'm just helping them tie a noose for themselves.

Katie
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CSS is just not the right

CSS is just not the right language for printing. In addition to browser differences, you've got the myriad of printer differences to worry about. I can't think of a simple solution, but there is a sturdy one.

Printer Control Language (or Printer Command Language on Wikipedia) is another page control language that will do exactly what you want it to. You just have to learn how to write it. Smile The wikipedia page has links to HP's technical reference manuals - so grab those and enjoy. Most printers with their own processors do support PCL - if you intend to use this method you'll probably want to test their printers.

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Triumph (not verified)
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Katie wrote:CSS is just not

Katie wrote:
CSS is just not the right language for printing. In addition to browser differences, you've got the myriad of printer differences to worry about. I can't think of a simple solution, but there is a sturdy one.

Printer Control Language (or Printer Command Language on Wikipedia) is another page control language that will do exactly what you want it to. You just have to learn how to write it. Smile The wikipedia page has links to HP's technical reference manuals - so grab those and enjoy. Most printers with their own processors do support PCL - if you intend to use this method you'll probably want to test their printers.
Thank you for that. I am looking into it right now. Smile

Katie
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Glad I could be of use. I

Glad I could be of use. I spent a few years supporting some printers, so it's good to know they weren't completely wasted.

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Triumph (not verified)
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Katie wrote:Glad I could be

Katie wrote:
Glad I could be of use. I spent a few years supporting some printers, so it's good to know they weren't completely wasted.

I don't really understand PCL but it is worth looking into. I don't know if it will be usable in this case or not.

Chris..S
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Triumph, you may find it

Triumph, you may find it easier to generate a PDF for the user to download and print. There are libraries for both PHP and .NET which convert HTML into PDF pretty reliably, although you probably will have to resort to tables. Alternatively you can render PDF commands directly.

If the address labels are standard and the fields all have a standard size and position, I may have something that can help you. Basically, you set up a PDF with all the "fixed" information in place and leave space for all the data. A PHP script then merges the specific information (in this cases addresses) with the previously setup pdf, placing the fields in their predetermined spots. Essentially it writes another layer over the existing PDF, a bit like using position:absolute over a background. The final PDF can then be sent to the user. Apart from the tedium of taking measurements off the original PDF its pretty straightforward.

Triumph (not verified)
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Chris..S wrote:Triumph, you

Chris..S wrote:
Triumph, you may find it easier to generate a PDF for the user to download and print. There are libraries for both PHP and .NET which convert HTML into PDF pretty reliably, although you probably will have to resort to tables. Alternatively you can render PDF commands directly. ...

That may be exactly what I'm looking for. It also makes sense because they mailing list will remain the same in most cases so they can simply print it over and over for other mailings but also simply recreating it is just a few clicks away.

Triumph (not verified)
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Chris..S wrote:... I may

Chris..S wrote:
... I may have something that can help you. ...

I found FPDF. Is that what you were talking about?

mihirc
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Hi, what if you make the

Hi,

what if you make the tables fixed height and width and then ask them to print it?

then it shouldnt break the layout also...

mihir. Smile

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Triumph (not verified)
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mihirc wrote:Hi, what if

mihirc wrote:
Hi,

what if you make the tables fixed height and width and then ask them to print it?

then it shouldnt break the layout also...

Triumph wrote:
... I had to revert to a tables based layout for their html emails, do I have to do the same with this? I don't think it will work because width and height are based on content and a long street address can cause the entire layout to go haywire.

mihirc
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Hi, well they must be

Hi,

well they must be knowing what the addresses and other details are, do they have anything that is more in the text area field? if the adresses only contain, contact info, they you can have a specified height and width. You might face a problem, if there are text areas, and dont know what ppl will be adding to it.

mihir.

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Triumph (not verified)
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mihirc wrote:... and dont

mihirc wrote:
... and dont know what ppl will be adding to it.

I see what you mean. The address lines can be long at times because there are two fields. The first is the physical address and the second can be a post office box number. I am running them on one line for now. With tables it can expand the length of the box and IE not being a great printing tool is what was holding me back. I think I've got the problem solved though:
http://www.networksandwebapplications.com/mark/PDF-Test/
Warning: This will cause a pdf to download in case there is someone that doesn't want that to happen.

Hugo
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that caused a PDF to be

Shock that caused a PDF to be downloaded!

So T was this achieved with FPDF?

Before you make your first post it is vital that you READ THE POSTING GUIDELINES!
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mihirc
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Its exactly as you wanted

Its exactly as you wanted it, right?

Great...

mihir Smile

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Triumph (not verified)
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Hugo wrote: that caused a

Hugo wrote:
Shock that caused a PDF to be downloaded!

So T was this achieved with FPDF?
Yes, sir. I'm liking it.

mihirc wrote:
Its exactly as you wanted it, right?

Great...
Actually, I was hoping to skip the extra step but it works very nicely and this will come in handy on future projects that need printed reports generated.
Katie, does pdf use PCL that you were talking about?

Hugo
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Useful to know, bookmarking

Useful to know, bookmarking FPDF.

Isn't PLC simply the old control sequence codes that had to be sent to the printer, if anyone can remember those early days before GUI WYSIWIG Apps you had to mark up your text document with code to tell the printer to break line, set the font size, bold the text etc.

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Hugo wrote:Useful to know,

Hugo wrote:
Useful to know, bookmarking FPDF. ...

I wish I'd have found it long ago. Smile

I stupidly tried to add it to an existing page with included header and footer files. Laughing out loud Obviously, it didn't work. You have to use this script separately from any html output. I was getting the underlying pdf code in between my nice header and footer. Tongue
%PDF-1.33 0 obj<>endobj4 0 obj<>stream2 J0.57 wBT /F1 10.00 Tf ETBT 23.24 738.12 Td (Contact Name1) Tj ETBT 23.24 725.36 Td (Entire Company Name1) Tj ETBT 23.24 712.61 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 23.24 699.85 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 23.24 665.98 Td (Contact Name2) Tj ETBT 23.24 653.22 Td (Entire Company Name2) Tj ETBT 23.24 640.46 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 23.24 627.71 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 23.24 593.83 Td (Contact Name3) Tj ETBT 23.24 581.08 Td (Entire Company Name3) Tj ETBT 23.24 568.32 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 23.24 555.57 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 23.24 521.69 Td (Contact Name4) Tj ETBT 23.24 508.94 Td (Entire Company Name4) Tj ETBT 23.24 496.18 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 23.24 483.43 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 23.24 449.55 Td (Contact Name5) Tj ETBT 23.24 436.80 Td (Entire Company Name5) Tj ETBT 23.24 424.04 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 23.24 411.28 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 23.24 377.41 Td (Contact Name6) Tj ETBT 23.24 364.65 Td (Entire Company Name6) Tj ETBT 23.24 351.90 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 23.24 339.14 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 23.24 305.27 Td (Contact Name7) Tj ETBT 23.24 292.51 Td (Entire Company Name7) Tj ETBT 23.24 279.76 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 23.24 267.00 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 23.24 233.13 Td (Contact Name8) Tj ETBT 23.24 220.37 Td (Entire Company Name8) Tj ETBT 23.24 207.61 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 23.24 194.86 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 23.24 160.98 Td (Contact Name9) Tj ETBT 23.24 148.23 Td (Entire Company Name9) Tj ETBT 23.24 135.47 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 23.24 122.72 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 23.24 88.84 Td (Contact Name10) Tj ETBT 23.24 76.09 Td (Entire Company Name10) Tj ETBT 23.24 63.33 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 23.24 50.57 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 223.99 738.12 Td (Contact Name11) Tj ETBT 223.99 725.36 Td (Entire Company Name11) Tj ETBT 223.99 712.61 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 223.99 699.85 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 223.99 665.98 Td (Contact Name12) Tj ETBT 223.99 653.22 Td (Entire Company Name12) Tj ETBT 223.99 640.46 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 223.99 627.71 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 223.99 593.83 Td (Contact Name13) Tj ETBT 223.99 581.08 Td (Entire Company Name13) Tj ETBT 223.99 568.32 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 223.99 555.57 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 223.99 521.69 Td (Contact Name14) Tj ETBT 223.99 508.94 Td (Entire Company Name14) Tj ETBT 223.99 496.18 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 223.99 483.43 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 223.99 449.55 Td (Contact Name15) Tj ETBT 223.99 436.80 Td (Entire Company Name15) Tj ETBT 223.99 424.04 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 223.99 411.28 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 223.99 377.41 Td (Contact Name16) Tj ETBT 223.99 364.65 Td (Entire Company Name16) Tj ETBT 223.99 351.90 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 223.99 339.14 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 223.99 305.27 Td (Contact Name17) Tj ETBT 223.99 292.51 Td (Entire Company Name17) Tj ETBT 223.99 279.76 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 223.99 267.00 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 223.99 233.13 Td (Contact Name18) Tj ETBT 223.99 220.37 Td (Entire Company Name18) Tj ETBT 223.99 207.61 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 223.99 194.86 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 223.99 160.98 Td (Contact Name19) Tj ETBT 223.99 148.23 Td (Entire Company Name19) Tj ETBT 223.99 135.47 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 223.99 122.72 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 223.99 88.84 Td (Contact Name20) Tj ETBT 223.99 76.09 Td (Entire Company Name20) Tj ETBT 223.99 63.33 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 223.99 50.57 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 424.74 738.12 Td (Contact Name21) Tj ETBT 424.74 725.36 Td (Entire Company Name21) Tj ETBT 424.74 712.61 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 424.74 699.85 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 424.74 665.98 Td (Contact Name22) Tj ETBT 424.74 653.22 Td (Entire Company Name22) Tj ETBT 424.74 640.46 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 424.74 627.71 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 424.74 593.83 Td (Contact Name23) Tj ETBT 424.74 581.08 Td (Entire Company Name23) Tj ETBT 424.74 568.32 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 424.74 555.57 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 424.74 521.69 Td (Contact Name24) Tj ETBT 424.74 508.94 Td (Entire Company Name24) Tj ETBT 424.74 496.18 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 424.74 483.43 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 424.74 449.55 Td (Contact Name25) Tj ETBT 424.74 436.80 Td (Entire Company Name25) Tj ETBT 424.74 424.04 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 424.74 411.28 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 424.74 377.41 Td (Contact Name26) Tj ETBT 424.74 364.65 Td (Entire Company Name26) Tj ETBT 424.74 351.90 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 424.74 339.14 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 424.74 305.27 Td (Contact Name27) Tj ETBT 424.74 292.51 Td (Entire Company Name27) Tj ETBT 424.74 279.76 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 424.74 267.00 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj 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Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 23.24 194.86 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 23.24 160.98 Td (Contact Name39) Tj ETBT 23.24 148.23 Td (Entire Company Name39) Tj ETBT 23.24 135.47 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 23.24 122.72 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 23.24 88.84 Td (Contact Name40) Tj ETBT 23.24 76.09 Td (Entire Company Name40) Tj ETBT 23.24 63.33 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 23.24 50.57 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 223.99 738.12 Td (Contact Name41) Tj ETBT 223.99 725.36 Td (Entire Company Name41) Tj ETBT 223.99 712.61 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 223.99 699.85 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 223.99 665.98 Td (Contact Name42) Tj ETBT 223.99 653.22 Td (Entire Company Name42) Tj ETBT 223.99 640.46 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 223.99 627.71 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 223.99 593.83 Td (Contact Name43) Tj ETBT 223.99 581.08 Td (Entire Company Name43) Tj ETBT 223.99 568.32 Td (1313 Mockingbird Lane) Tj ETBT 223.99 555.57 Td (Chicago, IL 60617) Tj ETBT 223.99 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n 0000015713 00000 n 0000000009 00000 n 0000000087 00000 n 0000005797 00000 n 0000005875 00000 n 0000011603 00000 n 0000011681 00000 n 0000015612 00000 n 0000015801 00000 n 0000015927 00000 n trailer<>startxref16031%%EOF That's just lovely, ain't it?

Katie
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Triumph wrote:Katie, does

Triumph wrote:
Katie, does pdf use PCL that you were talking about?

PCL would be the language of characters that is sent directly to the printer; through the printer driver. PDF is (I think) based on Postscript, so nope.

Hugo wrote:
Isn't PLC simply the old control sequence codes that had to be sent to the printer, if anyone can remember those early days before GUI WYSIWIG Apps you had to mark up your text document with code to tell the printer to break line, set the font size, bold the text etc.

PCL is precisely that.

PCL probably doesn't make a good solution in for a web app. I fear I got a little excited about using obscure and arcane knowledge...

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gary.turner
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Katie wrote:I fear I got a

Katie wrote:
I fear I got a little excited about using obscure and arcane knowledge...

But, that's the best kind. Smile The more of either, the better—especially if you're talking to the PHB.

cheers,

gary

If your web page is as clever as you can make it, it's probably too clever for you to debug or maintain.

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Triumph wrote:Chris..S

Triumph wrote:
Chris..S wrote:
... I may have something that can help you. ...

I found FPDF. Is that what you were talking about?

Partially. I have a class that uses FPDI, an extension of FPDF. FPDI adds support for 'templates' (as per PDF spec), which may be enough for what you are doing. The 'template' is the PDF document. In your case, without the data field values. My class merges cell data (name & coordinates in template) with data field values to create a new PDF.

Triumph (not verified)
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Chris..S wrote:Triumph

Chris..S wrote:
Triumph wrote:
Chris..S wrote:
... I may have something that can help you. ...

I found FPDF. Is that what you were talking about?

Partially. I have a class that uses FPDI, an extension of FPDF. FPDI adds support for 'templates' (as per PDF spec), which may be enough for what you are doing. The 'template' is the PDF document. In your case, without the data field values. My class merges cell data (name & coordinates in template) with data field values to create a new PDF.

That looks really useful. I'll have to mark it down for future use though. This current project is anti-php. They are pro-microsoft and anti-opensource. I don't know how I squeezed FPDF in.