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Tech Note: Macintosh PHDL Resources

Products: PrintOMatic Lite MX Xtra, PrintOMatic Lite Xtra 1.6.5, PrintOMatic MX Xtra, PrintOMatic Xtra 1.6.5
Platforms: Mac OS 8, Mac OS 9

What PHDLs Are Used For

Because Apple supplies a non-standard method for handling landscape printing mode on Mac OS 8 and 9, PrintOMatic Xtra uses an internal PHDL resource to provide information which in fact is printer driver specific. As shipped, the PHDL resource covers most known common Macintosh compatible laser printers.

If you attempt to set landscape mode on a printer which is "unknown", PrintOMatic Xtra puts up a special one-time only dialog asking for some information which it then stores in the PHDL resource of a special file named "PrintOMatic Preferences" that PrintOMatic Xtra will use in future sessions. The "PrintOMatic Preferences" file is stored in your System Folder’s "Preferences" folder.

It’s not so much related to brand of printer as it is to the printer driver. For example, Apple’s LaserWriter driver is used for just about every PostScript printer that’s out there. Printer-specific features are implemented by the Macintosh OS via .PPD files. This is nice, because it allows the same driver (with the same printer database entry) to be used for a lot of printers.

Which PHDL Resources Come with PrintOMatic?

The default PHDL resources are actually named with the driver that generated them, so you can just look at the names with ResEdit or Resourcer. These are the ones that are in there:

  • Express Fax Sender
  • ImageWriter
  • LaserWriter
  • LaserWriter 300
  • CoStar LabelWriter
  • Acrobat PDFWriter
  • LinkSaver 6.1

You don’t actually have to have the printer attached to your machine to generate these entries; you just have to have the driver selected in the Chooser. Then calling setLandscapeMode will prompt you to configure the default Landscape and Portrait page setups, and write the appropriate ’PHDL’ resources to the "PrintOMatic Preferences" file.

How to Install Custom PHDLs

Using the following steps, you can not only add additional PHDL resources to PrintOMatic Xtra but you can change the default paper sizes used by PrintOMatic Xtra! Here’s how to do this:

  1. Install all of the printer drivers you want to create PHDL resources for into your Extensions folder.

  2. Launch Director (with PrintOMatic Xtra installed in your Xtras folder.)

  3. Create an instance of the PrintOMatic Xtra in Director:
    set doc = new(xtra "PrintOMatic")

  4. Use the Chooser to select every print driver (one at a time) and call setLandscapeMode for each driver:
    setLandscapeMode doc, TRUE

  5. Following the on-screen prompts, carefully configure the default landscape and portrait page setup. They’ll be saved to the "PrintOMatic Preferences" file in your Preferences folder.

  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have used every printer driver.

  7. Quit Director.

Now, you need to copy the PHDL resources from the "PrintOMatic Preferences" file that has been created into a new copy of the PrintOMatic Xtra...

  1. Make a backup copy of your PrintOMatic Xtra file. IMPORTANT!!!

  2. Open your backup copy of the PrintOMatic Xtra file with ResEdit or Resourcer.

  3. If you want to change the default paper sizes for existing PHDL resources, delete the existing PHDL resources.

  4. Open your "PrintOMatic Preferences" file with ResEdit or Resourcer.

  5. Copy the desired PHDL resources from the "PrintOMatic Preferences" file into the PHDL section of the PrintOMatic Xtra backup file.

  6. Save the changes to the PrintOMatic Xtra backup file.
You’re done. Now try everything out by using your modified backup copy of the PrintOMatic Xtra and see if you have properly copied the PHDL resources into the Xtra. Once you have tested everything carefully, you can use your modified copy of the PrintOMatic Xtra for your shipping project!

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