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Catching print jobs.

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# 1  
Old 08-22-2008
Catching print jobs.


I am wondering how to catch print jobs to process them before been served to the printer.

I was told that the challenge is to catch raw text that an old legacy application sends to the printer (invoices, quotes, etc) and save them as text files to allow a new application to process them doing diferent new stuff that the old app can not.

We need to try this approach because there are no people that can change the legacy app's code. The client is thinking on change the app but we need to offer a solution now.

Does anybody konws how to do that?

Thanks in advance.
# 2  
Old 08-22-2008
If its your application that sends the print, you could try to disable the printer then go and fetch what is in the queue...
# 3  
Old 08-22-2008
Also, depending on the OS and queuing system used, you could write a simple printer filter as a shell script that would do the work for you. So... What OS and printing system are you on?
# 4  
Old 08-22-2008
I just know it is UNIX (don't know which one),

And I was told it uses the lpr command to print, it is all I know.

Do you have a link to a tutorial o something to do that script?
# 5  
Old 08-23-2008
"UNIX" can mean a lot of things.

Ok, here's what you can do, replace lpr with a script.

First, find out where it lives. Let's say for example it's /usr/bin/lpr.

Then replace with a script that logs how it's called and tries to copy the printer output to a file.

$ su
# mv /usr/bin/lpr /usr/bin/real.lpr
cat > /usr/bin/lpr
exec >/tmp/lpr.debug 2>&1
set +xv
echo "Lpr called on `date` with these arguments:"
echo "0:$0 1:$1 2:$2 3:$3 4:$4 5:$5 6:$6 7:$7 8:$8 9:$9"
while [ $# -gt 0 ]; do
  case $1 in
    -* ) args="$args $1" ;;
    * ) filenames="$filenames $1" ;;
if [ "$filenames" = "" ]; then
  cat > /tmp/lpr.stdin
cat /dev/null > /tmp/lpr.output
for f in $filenames; do
  cat $f >> /tmp/lpr.output
exec /usr/bin/real.lpr $* < /tmp/lpr.output
exit 0
# chmod 755 /usr/bin/lpr

That should get you started. Check /tmp/lpr.debug to see what's happening.
# 6  
Old 08-25-2008
Thanks Danny,

I know that saying UNIX is not enough, but is all I have.
Your answer gives me the idea of how to handle this.

This project is not approved yet, but thanks to you guys I have an idea of the different things that I should take in account.

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