Printing Without User Interaction - Black Ice Printer Driver API

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The BiAutoPrint controls can be used by developers to print Adobe PDF, Microsoft Office Documents (DOCX, DOC, DOCM, DOT, DOTX, TXT, RTF, XLSX, XLS, XLSM, XLSB, CSV, PPSX, XPS, PPS, PPSM, PPT, PPTX, PPTM, Visio), Image Files (TIF, JPG, JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG), AutoCAD (DWG), XPS, HTM and HTML files.

Using the BiAutoPrint controls, developers can easily create batch converter applications capable of processing thousands of documents without any user interaction.

In addition to providing automated printing, the controls can also be used to programmatically change the default printer on the system.

Autoprint

The BiAutoPrint functionality is provided as both a DLL and an ActiveX control to accommodate a range of programming languages including C/C++ and VB/Delphi/C#.NET developers.

Using the BiAutoPrint controls is as easy as calling the BIAPInitialize() function to initialize the printing control and then calling the BIAPStartPrinting() function for each document you need to print. Pass the name of the file to be printed and the name of the target printer as parameters, and the BiAutoPrint control will do the printing for you. After printing the document is done, use the BIAPEndPrinting() function to signal the end of the printing to the control, so a new document can be printed. The end of the printing can be detected using multiple methods, one of them would be by monitoring the print queue using the existing Black Ice functionality.

A second, more efficient way to detect when printing has finished would be taking advantage of the Black Ice printer driver messaging interface to capture the EndDoc message that is sent every time a document has finished printing.

Using the BIAPGetDefaultPrinter() and BIAPSetDefaultPrinter() functions, developers can retrieve and change the default printer on the system.

In addition to providing the BiAutoPrint DLL and ActiveX controls with the Black Ice Printer Driver Resource Toolkits, developers will also be provided with a full source code for these components, allowing them to expand the functionality of these controls to include support for additional file formats.

The Resource Toolkit contains two sample applications ( Auto-print and Batch Converter ) with a full source code written in C++ and Visual Basic which demonstrates how to develop applications capable of printing without user interaction. These simple but powerful samples can assist developers looking to build applications that can print out Microsoft Office documents such as Word, Excel, Power Point, HTML files, Text files and Adobe PDF files without any user interaction.

Some of the business applications of the Auto-print technology are:

  • Fax server receives a Microsoft Office document from a client and automatically converts it to faxable TIFF.
  • Print to e-mail
  • Web based upload script to accept an Office file, convert it to TIFF or JPEG and display the results in a browser
  • Desktop fax software
  • Archiving application
  • Any applications that requires server based document conversion
  • Batch converters

The Auto-print sample provides developers with a framework for creating an application which will perform document conversion either by printing without user interaction, or to create applications which perform document conversion through the Black Ice printer without the user knowing that printing is taking place.

The Auto-print Service sample demonstrates how to use a service for automated printing or document conversion solutions either with or without user interaction. The Auto-print Service technology can be used for document conversion with Black Ice printer drivers or with other physical printers. The Auto-print API can be executed under Windows 2012/2008 R2/ 2008 services to convert MS Office documents and Image file format such as TIFF, JPEG, PNG… etc. The Auto-print service can run under the "Administrator" account instead of under a particular user or System Account, that allows the Auto-print service continue the document conversion even after the current user logs off in unattended mode.
The Auto-print Service Sample available in the Auto-print SDK request.

Also, the Black Ice printer drivers include a Batch Converter sample which can be used for automated document conversion by printing without user interaction.

Both the Auto-print and Batch Converter samples can be enhanced by developers to include support for additional file types, as required by the target application.