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Thread: Another printing problem in A4 V8

  1. #1
    Real Name
    Arthur D. Libin
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Default Another printing problem in A4 V8

    I have another problem involving printing a form in Alpha 4 Version 8. The
    version works OK when under Windows Me, but when migrated to Windows
    XP, Media Edition, the function ceases to work.

    This may or may not have something to do with the version of Windows.
    More likely it is in Printer Configuration or Report Layout.

    I am printing a form. It is about 30-35 lines in length. I wish to print
    two copies of this form on the same page. (The page prints, and I
    can cut the output in half, one copy for the house, and one copy for
    the customer.) Currently, it is printing two pages, an identical form +
    data on each of the two.

    One might argue, with merit, that this is actually a better configuration,
    since one is cutting the page in two, anyway. My answer to this is: yes,
    you're right, but the user wants two forms per page and likes tearing
    it in half.

    Right now, I am using the following parameters:
    1. DOS printer;
    2. Installed as a generic HP Laserjet I/II/III/IV, which seems to
    3. Installed as Standard, rather than, Typeset;
    4. Page length of form is about 35 lines; I forget whether this is
    specified in Printer Configuration, Layout, or Both;
    5. I forget what the present phase of the moon we're in; :-)
    6. Compress = On.

    I've been varying settings in Printer Configuration in Layout, without
    much fruitfulness.

    If someone could point out a parameter I've forgotten about or could
    shed some light on why I can no longer print two copies of a short
    form on the same report page, I would be grateful.

    Thank you.

    Arthur Libin

  2. #2
    Real Name
    Duncan Greenshields
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Toronto, ON

    Default Re: Another printing problem in A4 V8


    Have you set the "form parameters" number of records per page to "2"?

    Just a thought,

  3. #3
    Real Name
    Arthur D. Libin
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Default Re: Another printing problem in A4 V8


    Good thought! That's the kind of an answer I was looking for...
    something obvious and reasonable, but I just didn't see it because
    of some kind of nearsightedness.

    I'll investigate it and tell you what happened.


  4. #4
    Real Name
    TJ Baker
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Default Re: Another printing problem in A4 V8

    First a little terminology is in order I think. You say you are printing a form but then you speak of a report layout. Is this a form or a report???

    If this is a form being printed, then Duncans' suggestion should yield two records per page, but not the same two records.

    It is my understanding that you desire two copies of the same record, printed using the same form layout, using a single piece of paper. Is this correct?

    If this is correct the only thing I can think of immediatley is to duplicte the Form layout on two pages of the Form.

    TJ Baker

  5. #5
    Real Name
    Arthur D. Libin
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Default Re: Another printing problem in A4 V8

    Hi, TJ, thank you for asking. I will try to clarify my terminology. As you
    imply, in my mind the difference between a "form" and a "report" can be
    a little hazy, due to my lack of experience.

    All processing is built around a selected database. This may be a vanilla
    database (*.DBF) with supporting indices (*.NDX) or a relational set
    (*.SET) built from fields from a number of *.DBF's. As far as the user is
    concerned *.DBF's and *.SET's act the same, in the sense that they
    seem to be a collection of "records".

    A "form" is created for the purpose of ADD/UPDATE/DELETE/DISPLAY
    functions of these records. So a "form" is a representation of one of
    these records, that is readable by a user.

    A "report" is a more generalized display, organized around one or more
    "key" fields, with other fields drawn in from supplementary records.

    Again, I ask you to excuse me if I seem to lapse into "lecture mode". I
    just do this because I am, as I have mentioned, a "pompous ass". No
    disrespect is intended.

    Now having once again over-explained, I can tell you where I am trying
    to print from!

    There is a form on the screen, which I will call a "receipt". This is a
    visible representation of a "record" ( a form with fields filled in from a
    record, with a few supplementary or calculated fields) and we may
    "find" a record, "add a new record", "update" or "delete" a "found"
    record, and so forth.

    This sounds very familiar, does it not?

    When a form is on the screen, we can press the "R" key to get a little
    "receipt report" which is what you see on the screen, slightly
    re-formatted. In fact when you press "R" you're supposed to get TWO
    of these on ONE report page (but we get ONE on a page, which is
    the problem).

    We can go elsewhere in A4V8, and generate a "report" from a selected
    list of these "forms"/"records, the records selected or excluded according
    to rules that we don't care about, right now.

    So, we are dealing with:
    1) Form displayed on screen; fields are filled in from ONE "record";
    2) "R" is supposed to print two copies, slightly re-formatted,
    on ONE "report" page (it doesn't),
    ...or reports...
    1) Compiled from multiple records;
    2) Records selected (reports' fields filled in from one record or a
    range of records).

    OK... by now you should be profoundly sorry you asked me. I have
    over-explained, but if you have endured this far, the questions you
    asked in the preceding posting have been answered... and then some...!

    You know what I think is the difference between a "report" and a "form",
    and you know what I think I am trying to print.

    So now it is a question of formatting. I am trying to print "something",
    data is primarily from one record from a *.DBF (or *.SET). The question
    is why two copies are being printed on two pages, rather than two]
    copies on ONE physical page.

    OK. You know what I am trying to do. So the question is what is
    influencing the two copies of this form to go on TWO physical pages,
    rather than TWO copies to go on ONE physical page?

    Someday I hope to learn to be brief. Right now, I will sette to be

  6. #6
    Real Name
    Arthur D. Libin
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Default Re: Another printing problem in A4 V8; ADDENDUM

    1. In the version currently operating under Me (in as much as anything
    can operate successfully under ME :-) ), with a "record" on a
    screen, pressing "R" grenerates a "receipt" - a re-formatted record.
    TWO copies of the SAME record are generated. These TWO copies
    are on the same PHYSICAL report page, which is then physically
    torn in half. One vopy is given to the customer; the other is saved
    by the house.

    Never mind that it's probably better to have TWO copies on TWO
    physical pages.

    2. Although a "form" and a "report" are two different entities (the
    difference between a single record and multiple related records),
    when it comes to actually printing whatever entity has been
    generated follows rimilar rules in regards to formatting:
    a) It is associated with a printer, selected by a letter;
    this printer has been "configured" to operate, either as
    a DOS or Windows printer; there are other configuration rules;
    b) The report (or form or browse table, etc.) has been built
    under the "Layout" section; it has its set of rules;
    c) We are probably looking for something in "Configuration" or
    d) Occasionally, it is a problem with the print driver - especially
    if it is a "host-oriented" driver (most of the processing done
    in the system unit);
    e) It's worse of we're using Windows 98 before SE, which has
    indifferent USB support. Don't even think about Windows 95;
    f) Don't spend too much time thinking about "d)" and "e)" - I just
    added this to confuse you! Don't consider "f)" at all!

  7. #7
    Real Name
    TJ Baker
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Default Re: Another printing problem in A4 V8

    If you are getting a receipt as you call it by pressing the 'R' key while viewing a record then this is invoking some custom scripting as the 'R' key by alpha default would otherwise bring up the RANGE settings popup window.

    Without having the databases, scripts and so on to look at I don't think there is any way for anyone here to know what actions are being performed by the aforementioned custom menu ('R' key for receipt and so on). Indeed there are limitless possibilities when scripting this sort of thing.

    I really doubt that anything in the printer settings are at fault here.

    All for right now,

    TJ Baker

  8. #8
    Real Name
    Arthur D. Libin
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Default Re: Another printing problem in A4 V8

    It's worth pursuing. I'm a relatively new user of Alpha Software. I'm
    learning about it as I maintain a system (application = hotel management
    system for a sleazy hotel in downtown Portland, Oregon), for the manager.
    So as a consequence, I haven't gotten into Scripting, yet. What I did
    read sounded familiar, as I've seen it's siblings in a variety of packages.

    Superficially, I investigated by pressing Alt-F3 at the proper time. It said that it couldn't find any scripts. But that doesn't mean there aren't any there.
    If there is a script activated by "R", obviously I should investigate what
    it's doing. There may be some sort of environmental variable that's
    being set, or it's setting # copies, or something like that.

    There's much I don't know about Alpha Software, which makes solving
    problems... interesting.

    The way "R" worked changed after the migration Me --> XP. So what's the difference?

    1. The printer is configured as a DOS printer. We know there's
    no longer any DOS - it's now something called an NTVDM. Does
    this affect anything?

    2. The printer. The old system used a HP LJ 1100 (MS). I think
    it uses a host-oriented driver. It wouldn't print at all using
    "R" (on XP). So I tried a brother HL-5250DN, which did print.

    So from then on I used the Brother; it was configured
    a) As a DOS printer [as opposed to Windows Printer];
    b) As a STANDARD [as opposed to Typeset Printer];
    c) FORMFEED advance;
    d) Line length of 35; hmmmm... I wonder...

    3. However, the Brother was configured, for Alpha Software,
    as a HP LaserJet I/II/III/IV, to be just a generalized driver.

    I had a wierd idea, since Printer is one of the factors that changed.
    Is there any ESC [ 1BH ] sequence that controls the number of
    copies and formfeeds at the end of a print? Maybe the HP LJ 1100
    has these functions and the LaserJet I/II/III/IV does not, so that's
    why it performs an extraneous formfeed (hence two pages).

    I'm going to the HP website and check out the ESC commands
    that the HP LJ 1100 accepts. It's very possible that this is the

    My sensei said that when debugging a problem, one of the first
    things you look for is "what's changed?"? In this case the printer
    changed. Why should this affect things? Welkl, it's something small...
    as simple as an extraneous formfeed at the end of the first copy.
    (And where is the number of copies = 2 being set?).

  9. #9
    Real Name
    TJ Baker
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Default Re: Another printing problem in A4 V8

    I don't suppose there is a correctly functioning copy of the software on a Windows ME system available for comparison sake?

  10. #10
    Real Name
    Arthur D. Libin
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Default Re: Another printing problem in A4 V8


    Thank you very much for your interest and attention on this problem.

    First, to answer your question, yes, of course, we kept backups of
    the old system, which is still funcitoning on the Me system. We haven't
    put the new system online yet. One copy is on the old system, the
    other is on a 1GB flash drive, which we used to transfer the two
    folders Alpha4V4 and Alpha4V8. They are invaluable, of course, to
    inspect configurations, etc., from when the system was functioning

    In fact, I just used it to pursue my hunch that the problem was
    actually in the printer driver. Not in the sense that there was a bug
    in the driver, but in the sense that the right driver had to be there.

    Most of these LaserJet printers can be used is their "ESC sequence"
    mode, or in PostScript mode. The problem was that the printer
    had to be used in PostScript mode in order to get the features we
    wanted (which was actually to surpress the formfeed between

    So, I chose a reasonable looking driver and assigned it to the
    "report". It ran. I had to do a little manual editing of the report to
    make sure there weren't any lines of excessive length (I chose
    to fix the reports my manual editing, for no good reason), and
    I got my two copies on one page.

    See my earlier posting - start debugging at places where we knew
    there were actual changes - in this case printer assignment to
    reports and configuration settings.

    Alpha Software resembles, quite a bit, systems I have written
    or edited in dBase III and IV, so my experience was transferrable.

    If I can be of any service in the future... I'll watch the message
    board for cries for help.


    Arthur D. Libin

  11. #11
    Real Name
    Howard R. Elkes
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Bellingham, WA

    Default Re: Another printing problem in A4 V8


    A simple solution would be to make the form consist of two pages, the second containing the same data in the same layout as your current form. Then, when the form is printed, you will get two images on the same physical page.

    I tried this with a form used by one of my clients and it works quite well.

    You might want to put a line of dashes (or use <Alt + 196> special characters) at the top of the second page. This will show the client where to make the cut.

    Good luck,

    Howard R. Elkes

  12. #12
    Real Name
    Arthur D. Libin
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Default Re: Another printing problem in A4 V8

    Thank you very much. This workaround would do the trick.

    However, I solved the problem another way. I just assigned a postscript
    (or PCL) printer to this "report" and the software, which was already
    programmed to give the desired effect, and was misbehaving when I
    migrated from Me -> XP began to behave itself.

    It was only malfunctioning because I assigned a printer to this report
    which was controlled by ESCape sequences, rather than PostScript
    or PCL. I did this to solve another problem.

    Silly me.

    I have coordinated everything so that all the printers are properly
    configured and the right printers are assigned to the right reports
    and everything is operating as intended.


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