Printing Features

STABLE and BETA version discussions
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ac0zg
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Posts: 55

Printing Features

Post#1 » Thu Aug 11, 2016 10:48 pm

So, originally I said I wasn't going to do printing features. Then I said I was considering it. As part of considering it, I did some research into how Qt supports printing, and due to some fuzzy documentation, I started writing some code to help clarify things. Anyway, I wound up writing a bunch of code, so at this point I will definitely be doing some printing features, some of which will make it into the next release.

So, for those who were looking for printing features, what are you looking for? The 3.2 release stream will contain at least support for address labels. I'm not committing to anything beyond that, but I'm considering support for direct envelope printing and possibly QSL strips (QSL information on an address label). If I do support for QSL cards that won't happen until later.

But I am curious how many people use the QSL card printing features of ANY logger, i.e. NL2.4 or other loggers?

I'm open to suggestions from people who have used printing features from other programs regarding what they like and don't like, and improvements they would like to see.

Oh, as part of my experimentation I added a button to print a copy of an online netlogger help page (turns out Qt has simple support for this, but little control over how it is presented on the page -- The Mac OSX version is definitely the LARGE print edition!). There some inconsistency between the sizes between different OS's right now, and I haven't figured out how to control that yet. I may not actually release this feature at this time. Would people like this feature?

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k0jdd
Founder
Posts: 98

Re: Printing Features

Post#2 » Fri Aug 12, 2016 8:37 pm

I use QSL address labels affixed to envelopes and QSL strips affixed to pre-printed cards.

I export the details from MacLoggerDX to a .txt file and then print them on a DYMO LabelWriter 450 Turbo. ( See sample files attached. One thing I would like to change is that MLDX puts BAND on the QSO label instead of the FREQ )

MacLoggerDX Address Labels.txt
(79 Bytes) Downloaded 82 times

MacLoggerDX QSO Details Labels.txt
(445 Bytes) Downloaded 71 times


IMHO, bulk printed QSL cards are cheaper than those you can print yourself once you take into account the cost of decent paper, ink, and the time spent cutting them apart. (There are numerous sources for purchasing inexpensive cards printed on decent stock.)

===

Rather than fight with the formatting of the help files across various platforms, consider this approach. (click to download) http://www.netlogger.org/downloads/NetLoggerHelp.pdf

This took me two minutes to produce with Acrobat Pro. There are a few issues that need to be resolved, such as the images of the emoticons not showing up, but those seem minor. If the goal is to print the help document why not create it once and make it available as a download? (The software licensing cost will not be an issue.)

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ac0zg
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Posts: 55

Re: Printing Features

Post#3 » Sun Aug 14, 2016 12:06 am

The text file exports would be more appropriate as part of a "report" feature, something that is on the list for future development. Reports will allow a lot more flexibility in how things are formatted.

As far as printing QSL cards, yes, it can definitely be cheaper to get bulk cards rather than print your own. Personally, I don't directly print my cards, I instead have my own software that merges a tiff image with adif fields and creates custom tiff images which I upload to Sam's Club for printing. I'll probably incorporate that process (and make it a bunch easier than the current multi-step process I currently use) in addition to a print your own feature. I'd like to have a common design process for both, because even if you print your own you probably want the ability to incorporate image, its just that when you place text on top of an image you have to be very precise, especially if the underlying image has specific masking and shading to make the overlaid text readable.

I do prefer custom cards because I just like the way they look, and I have slightly different designs for each club that I make contacts with. Others may print their cards for similar reasons.

As far as the document printing, there's two different issues. The feature I was talking about is the ability to print a single help page, i.e. I added an extra button to the help page viewer. I don't know how useful that is, but it is a different case from printing the entire document in a readable format. What you produced would be a possible replacement for the NL2.4to3.0 document, since I planned to drop that in 3.2 (I don't keep that up to date, so it is getting a stale rather quickly). Note that I don't have Acrobat Pro to produce this document, but it is possible that I might be able to get Qt to produce it. It already has an export to PDF option, but I'm not sure if the fonts are pre-rendered or not (Qt's font rendering is not as good as a OS print driver or Adobe Acrobat). I may experiment with that.

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ac0zg
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Posts: 55

Re: Printing Features

Post#4 » Wed Aug 17, 2016 11:55 pm

I misunderstood how the Dymo Label printers work. I looked a little further, and my understanding is that you can get standard Windows and MacOSX drivers for them. Basically they present themselves as printers with very small pages. It's possible that my planned support can be made to work with these printers. I'll be curious to see what orientation they present themselves in, etc. I'll have enough debug enabled during the beta test period to figure out what is possible if it doesn't work at first.

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