Re: 10 Questions about Printing

On Fri, 2005-10-07 at 23:22 -0400, Owen Taylor wrote:
> Some fodder for discussion this weekend:
> 1. Is there a cross-platform printing user interface?
>    Actually, what we are interested in is not the printing
>    user interface per-se, but the points of interaction between 
>    the application user interface and the printing user - 
>    what are the menu items? What are the places where the
>    application can extend the printing user interface?
>    In terms of menu-items, Windows typically has:
>     Page Setup
>     Print
>    And sometimes "Print Preview".
>    OS X has Page Setup and Print; Preview is a button on the
>    Print dialog.
>    GNOME has Page Setup integrated into Print, though many
>    (most?) apps also have a separate Page Setup which may 
>    or may not duplicate stuff from the print dialog.

I think "Page Setup", "Print Preview" & "Print" are best.
Though "Print Preview" could be optional.

For complex layout apps, you need to do "Page Setup" before editing the
document (to set paper size/orientation/margins etc.), so putting it in
the "Print" dialog seems a bit silly.

Also, people tend to preview documents multiple times before printing,
so it does seem to warrant its own menu item, at least for document-
centric apps.

Though for some applications you may need to configure the print options
before printing (e.g. select a date range in a calendar to print), so a
"Preview" button in the Print dialog makes sense in that case instead.

> 5. Can we not use the native UI?
>    If we write our own dialog, then we have to be able go
>    beyond enumerating printers, show printer specific options,
>    possibly with driver-provided UI, etc. It doesn't seem
>    that either windows or OS X has a "API for writing print
>    dialogs"
>    I think trying to avoid the native UI is going to be a lot
>    harder for the print dialog than for the file chooser.
>    For the file chooser, we may be idiosynchratic, but there
>    is a lot of variability anyways (on Windows). For the
>    print dialog, we'll just be non-functional.

If we use native UI, can we still customize the dialog? I guess it
becomes harder to do.

Ideally if we are using the same printer from Linux/Windows/OS X, we
should be showing the same options from all of them. So I'd be tempted
to use a GTK+ UI.

Of course native Windows/OS X driver-provided UI may be better at the
moment, but printer manufacturers could provide plugin GTK+ UI in


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