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Need to print an invoice from a C# application on a mobile device

Posted on 2008-10-17
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Last Modified: 2013-12-05
My ultimate goal is to use ce SQL records I have created from Microsoft Mobile Sales solution (which runs a C# class on the device) and print an invoice directly from the  moble device that is attached to a printer.

What is the best approach for this?

It also appears that the device I am using Symbol  MC7094 only supports print drivers for printers such as Zebra QL420... so that means the invoice will have to be on a narrow piece of paper instead of an 8 X 11 normal invoice.  (tech from Symbol told me there are no driver available for printing to standard printer... would be great if he was wrong).

In any case.   I have a few options to produce the invoice.

1) if Mobile Word has all features of regular word  (which I don't know.. Ms is getting back to me on this).  I can leverage Microsoft.office.Interop class .. and produce a word document dynmaically through the c# application..  I have done this already in standard c# application not on a device.. if so I have no problems.. I know that there is a method to print the word document to a printer.

2)  I also know I can create a simple flat file in C# application.. but don't know how to print it.
so i think I want to do more than just create a flat file.. I need software that can create a file (object) that is printable through the C# application... 1 click approach.

3)  Seems there must be some mobile device label software that I can install on the mobile device that will allow me to print a decent invoice..   Rental car companies at the airport do this all the time so must be fairly common.

the software would have to have methods  that I can acces from within the C# application.. similar to what I do with Word in a full C# application.


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Question by:rhoss
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Expert Comment

by:alexey_gusev
ID: 22740557
Symbol devices might have some print utility pre-installed already
I doubt that Mobile Word can print documents
In any case, you could have a look at www.FieldSoftware.com, they have apps and components for printing from mobile device
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Author Comment

by:rhoss
ID: 22741469
Yes, it is true that you can't print a word document from Mobile word application directly.. there is no print option on the menu.

but that is where the 3rd party software comes in.

Looks like there is printing software called  PrintPocketPC, I found this product though the web site Alexey provided.   It does support command line quick printing which is what i need... sample code in C is provided.

It also is designed to print word and excel documents from the device... but if my device does not support standard printers.... looks like you would have to have a very small word document to print..

Still want to keep this open for other suggestions.....for other printing software that would meet my needs.
Because now I am limited to creating a text file from within the C# application .. which means the invoice won't have a logo on it.. it will be very basic.  
Would like the option to create a more robust document if possible.

Thanks.
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by:alexey_gusev
ID: 22741557
well, what do you mean by "but if my device does not support standard printers"?  Field Software supports many different printers (more exactly, few language standards), so their ProntPocketCE utility works in moist of the cases (even from Pocket Internet Explorer). If your printer supports standard language, then it should work.

anyway, you can check trial version
besides, they have CF.NET SDK too, not only C/C++ package
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Author Comment

by:rhoss
ID: 22742218
Alexey,

This is what seems inconsistent to me..  The tech rep at Symbol told me that there MC7090 only works with a few print drivers.. I have not looked at them all yet.   Seems to me the type of printers it would support would be Zebra printers that print labels, bar codes.... note a printer that prints a 8 X 11 document....  But he must be wrong.

It may wind up being ok to have an invoice on a narrow piece of paper.....So what printers the device supports is really another question..  but ofcourse i need to know how much "real estate" i have to work with when designing the invoice I want to print... wouldn't want to print 100 characters across on a 4 inch piece of paper.

I know that PrintPocketPc supports many printers.... so I will have to see if there is a conflict.... can a software solution (printpocketpc) support a printer that the mobile device does not support?

I would think so.... but I need to do more research.. just responding to what the tech from Symbol told me...

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Accepted Solution

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alexey_gusev earned 500 total points
ID: 22742377
as far as I'm familiar with Symbol folks, when they say "doens't support", it means that bare Symbol device doesn't support that type of printer. Symbol usually had some printing utility, so maybe they refer to it.

if you have the device and can test PrintPocketCE with different printer then it's a way to go ;)
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Author Comment

by:rhoss
ID: 22742519
No,  the tech told me that I';d have to load the drivers I need.(and they only had drivers for printer that the device supported... so he wan't talking about the bare symbol device)...

but we'll see.... I am going to try to printpockpc software ware and see if I can print a simple file from the device on the application to a cheap HP printer......

You help point me in the right direction.

as far as what printers we can print to this may be a non issue because customer may want to go with a smaller printer that only prints let's say a 4 inch wide document anyway.....

My guess is generally most mobile sales solutions don't do a lot of printing.....

this feature is not built into the MS Mobile framework... the intent of the application is to collect sales data from custom and get to back end ERP system...  

normallly customer would invoice from the home office.. but we now want to invoice at point of delivery... we'll handle the invoice sync on the backend.... but this discussion is beyond the scope of my initial question.


thanks....
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Author Closing Comment

by:rhoss
ID: 31507113
still have too make sure it works but I suspect it will
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