In 1994 I released a
few programmes for Australian Dairy Farmers written in DOS. I'm gradually
upgrading these to Windows, but its a slow process. In the mean time I needed a
way to keep the old programmes running as people started to upgrade their
computers and then found out they couldn't print.
Of course, they blamed ME! Anyway, this is the result. A small programme I ship
with upgrades of my application for people who have problems printing to
install. It has saved me countless headaches. If you suffer the same problems, I
hope it can help you too...
What DOS Printer is
DOS Printer was designed to help you if you still use DOS Programs, but also want the latest in hardware technology.
Most printers nowadays do not accept DOS Printer Codes, and many connect to USB ports.
Have you ever wanted to fax, email, or even create a pdf file directly from DOS ? Well now you can!
DOS Printer takes a DOS text file and converts it into a Windows graphic format (a .wmf file for the technically minded) and prints it using ANY windows printer driver. That can include fax, pdf, multi function devices ... anything you like.
Arguably, some of the best programs ever written were written in DOS. Where else will you find a fully functional spreadsheet or word processor that fits on a floppy disk ? For various reasons, many people still use DOS software.
In my own case, I wrote DOS Software. When windows only printers came along, I started getting support calls. Something had to be done. I started learning how to re-write my software under a windows environment, and wrote the first version of DOS Printer simply to extend the life of my DOS software while I converted it.
Most DOS Programs are able to save their reports to a disk file. Nearly 100% of DOS Programs are able to make use of epson printer codes, which were industry standard for a long time.
I decided to make use of these 2 facts when I wrote DOS Printer.
There are 2 ways to use DOS Printer.
1. Automatic Printing - where DOS Printer sits in the system tray and monitors for the presence of a given text file. When it finds it, it prints it, deletes it, and waits again
2. Manual Printing - where you show DOS Printer the file you want to print. DOS Printer prints it and asks you whether to delete it or not.
How it works...
When DOS Printer prints a file, it reads your text file one character at a time. If the character is an Epson Printer Code, it changes the current font characteristics. If it is a printable character, it creates a character on a graphic image using the current font characteristics in Courier font. If it is a DOS Line draw character (not supported by most windows fonts) it is converted to it's nearest windows equivalent character.
When the report is complete, it uses ANY WINDOWS PRINTER DRIVER to print the report using normal WINDOWS mechanisms. Actually, all Windows programs make .wmf graphic files and pass them to printer drivers - that's how windows printing works.
This means that
(1) You set your DOS program to use EPSON Printer Codes no matter what type of printer or printer driver you are using
(2) ANY windows printer driver at all should work. I've tested it with .pdf creators, fax drivers, multi-function devices and a multitude of printers with excellent results.
You can also set DOS Printer to automatically Email your reports!
DOS Printer will even find an email address embedded within the report!
DOS Printer embeds the .wmf images within the body of the email. Your recipients don't need programs like Acrobat reader to view them, and they cannot easily be edited or changed.
We hope you enjoy using DOS Printer!