Dot-Matrix Character Printing


Many businesses like dot-matrix printers because:

1. Can work in dusty conditions
2. Allow use of multi-part stationery that can also be written on by warehouse people to get important communications back to staff confirming dispatches for invoicing i.e. only sent 5 of the 10 items on a line, consignment note number/courier company
3. Printing costs can be lower (moot point)
4. Existing investment in dot-matrix printers
5. Allows sending print jobs to remote printers using lpr and users can print jobs on printers where their local network does not go ie the print job can be redirected to a printer other than a printer on the same network as the browser.

I see dot-matrix mainly as advantageous in a warehouse due to the dusty environment and the two part stationery option. Pre-printed stationery is more expensive that blank A4 and invoices/statements and other customer facing documents can be printed that look slicker/more professional on laser printers. Sales and marketing people will never see the benefits of dot-matrix so sales analysis reports will be laser printed pdfs.

How will it work:

Thinking then about just packing slips .....

It could be that a user will only ever want to print dot-matrix reports but where there are multiple inventory locations and the user is entering orders for the business as a whole at the "call centre" then they will need to be able to choose to which printer (warehouse) the packing slip is produced. This could be chosen automatically by having a field in the locations table that says which printer to fire packing slips to - in some ways this is the least error prone. Otherwise we have to allow the user to choose which printer to print off to.

OK - what about a situation where one warehouse uses dot-matrix and another laser printed packing slips? We need to allow a choice between laser pdf and dot-matrix in the interface at the time of producing the packing slip. Perhaps the location record could have a flag for dot-matrix or laser and the print packing slip code would produce output in the appropriate format. I think I like this option.

Wayne's code produces text files from nice templates for header, body, footer files. The mechanism by which the text file gets to the printer is interesting at the moment copying the file to the device could be fraught with trouble with multiple users all firing off print jobs with no centralised queueing facility. I am more familiar with remote printing using lpr but there may be ways that this could be done under windows to take advantage of operating system print spoolers.

Spooler options - OS specific - how do we code in a way that works for both window *nix???

Work to Do:

Wayne has prepared a proof of conecpt with a packing slip produced off a generic template.

Printer definitions script - that takes printer queues from the OS ideally?
Or do we need a table of printers and print method - lpr/cups/windows spooler

Windows as lpr support too doesn't it?

Locations table

Add fields for:

packingslipprintmethod - pdf/character boolean
printer - varchar(20)

Modify the locations script to allow selection of the above.

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