Printing PDFs

In the App Vs HTML5 battle, my support is firmly on the side of HTML5. I think developing software that is device specific is a move in the wrong direction. By having everything browser based, you don’t need to always have your device with you. Which is where a library comes in handy. By providing internet access, we allow folks to pick up where they left off at home or at work without missing a beat…almost.

The DMV is big on sending folks to the library to print their RMV1 forms. They email the patrons a pdf pre-populated with all the info they need to make their car truly theirs. Yet more than once I’ve had to help a patron figure out why the pdf printed blank. I honestly don’t know why it happens but the workaround gives me some clues.

When the patron prints the pdf from the pdf plug-in FireFox, Chrome, or IE provides the browser is handling the print function. So the print job is going from a browser plug-in, to the browser, to the print management software, to the print server, and finally to the printer itself. Near as I can tell that’s too many hops to handle.

So my work-around is to download the pdf, open it in Acrobat, and print it from there. It seems cutting out two of the hops does the trick. While I’m well aware it could be the old PCs we have at the library or the print management software that is ultimately the culprit, I can see how this is an example of HTML5 not being able to do things an App can.

If you’ve run into similar issues and used other workarounds, or an actual solution, please leave a comment.

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