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Print PDF with barcodes from Windows Mobile 6.5

Posted on 2013-06-05
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Last Modified: 2013-12-27
We have Honeywell Dolphin 6000 devices running Windows Mobile 6.5 from which we would like to print PDFs containing barcodes (Code128).

The pdfs are generated by our web server and need to be printed to whichever printer is closest to the user.

We'd like to know what the best way to accomplish this is. We have explored a couple of options:

1) Printing from an aspx page using adobe reader command line - this only seems to work if a user is logged on to the server and there is already a document open in adobe reader. If not an error pops up (on the server) saying that a printer needs to be installed before it can print.

2) Connecting the devices to network printers and printing from a pdf viewer. The only pdf reader we found that supported printing does not display the barcode correctly even though the font is installed.

Is there another way to do this? Or are there any suggestions for getting one of the above ideas to work?
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Question by:SimonGClarke
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6 Comments
 
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Accepted Solution

by:
hjgode earned 400 total points
ID: 39224583
Hello

I see several possible approaches.

The PDF is available on the Server. As Windows Mobile does not support printing normally, best is to let the server do the print. Otherwise the PDF has to be transmitted to the Windows Mobile device and then from the device to the printer.
So, you need a solution where you put  PDF into a print queue by a command issued from the web server.

I have already done printing from web server to shared printers using php. So, why ASP should not able to do that too.

The server could just copy the PDF into a folder that is watched by a tool and then spools the PDF to the right printer (a tool like http://www.lerup.com/printfile/).

Some printers are able to print PDF directly. Some support ftp too and then you just need to copy the PDF to the printer.

How can you know, which printer is next to the Windows Mobile device?
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Author Comment

by:SimonGClarke
ID: 39225605
Thanks for your quick reply.

The WM devices will be operating on different subnets so we'll be able to determine location by IP address.

I like the idea of a watched folder, in which case we could copy pdfs to a particular folder dependent on location, however I'm having trouble trying to find a tool to do the job. The printfile one that you referenced is along the right lines, but (1) I couldn't see any way of setting up multiple watched folders and (2) our printers didn't like having pdfs dropped directly in there.

I thought I had found the ideal tool here http://www.4-tech-engineering.com/software/autoprintpro/autoprintpro.htm however it won't install on my Windows 2000 server despite Windows Server 20xx being listed under system requirements.

This http://funasset.com/products/silentprint/versions.asp looks like it might do the job, however the price pretty steep (it's based on Number of Tasks and jumps from 2 tasks at £79 to 20 tasks for £279 - we're looking at having 3 tasks...)

We'd ideally like a free solution, however <£100 would be considered.
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Assisted Solution

by:Karl Heinz Kremer
Karl Heinz Kremer earned 100 total points
ID: 39225850
If software is advertised as compatible with Windows 2000 Server, but you cannot install it, you should get in touch with their customer support. Chances are that they are the only ones who can help you with your installation problems.

There is another option, and that is to convert the PDF file to something that can be printed by more printers directly, this can either be a PostScript file if you have PostScript printer, or an image. You are printing barcodes, so chances are that when you convert the PDF file to e.g. a 300dpi TIFF image, you will be able to print that in acceptable quality on your devices. You can use Ghostscript (http://www.ghostscript.com) to convert your PDF to either format, and then it's just up to finding a way to submit that file. You could for example install a lpr queue on your server, and then just submit the print file via lpr.
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:hjgode
ID: 39227964
Hello

I would recommend AutoPrint Pro. too. There must be a way to install it. Contact them, they would like to have new customers :-)

I found another one, BatchPrint: http://www.traction-software.co.uk/batchprint/

Also searched for open-source apps doing folder watched printing, but had no luck so far.

Normally a folder watched printing should not that hard to program, as windows already supports drag-n-drop of files onto printers.
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Author Comment

by:SimonGClarke
ID: 39230096
Strangely enough I didn't actually think of contacting them for support - I have since done so and they uploaded a new installer for me to try. Unfortunately I didn't have any luck with that either, but in my attempts to get it working I thought I'd try installing on an XP machine and then copying the exe file over (it was the only element missing) and I realised I can just use an XP machine and copy the files over to that.

Sounds simple so I'll have a go at that next week and update then. Have a good weekend :)
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Author Closing Comment

by:SimonGClarke
ID: 39239141
Finally had a chance to trial AutoPrint Professional today and it does the job nicely, we just have to drop the pdfs in the right folder and they print almost immediately. It was very easy to set up and can also be run as a service (I've not tested this aspect yet). They were quick to respond to my queries too, which is always a good sign.

For low volume this may work well as a free solution for others as it just needs restarting after 25 print tasks.

Thanks for all your help.
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