Printing a PDF File Resets Printer Default

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
jfackerson
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Printing a PDF File Resets Printer Default

Postby jfackerson » Thu Sep 04, 2008 4:45 pm

Previous evening, Ward Clerk & I were creating an abbreviated Membership Directory. We used MLS print function to create a Portable Document Format (PDF) file.

Following day, after transmitting "Send and Receive Changes", MLS prompted, asking me if I wanted to print a copy of Membership Record Update Report (MRUR) for Bishop. I selected, NO. I then selected on Print. I wanted a paper copy for an MRUR folder, but forgot to notice that printer output default had been reset to CutePDF, rather than to paper printer, HP 1320. When I attempted to cancel creating a PDF file, I lost my ability to output the MRUR report.
I don't know how to retrieve that MRUR, once the opportunity to print to paper has passed.
I don't know why CutePDF would have become default output for all MLS printing. Maybe it was related to previous evening's event of creating a PDF file.

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opee
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Postby opee » Thu Sep 04, 2008 4:47 pm

I have noticed that when you change the printer for any document in MLS, it will remember the last printer used--until you change it again. Maybe by design? or a bug?

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Postby RossEvans » Thu Sep 04, 2008 5:03 pm

opee wrote:I have noticed that when you change the printer for any document in MLS, it will remember the last printer used--until you change it again. Maybe by design? or a bug?


I don't care for MLS resetting the default. That behavior -- along with my own pilor error in clicking past the print dialog out of habit -- has combined to foul the printing of a check.

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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Thu Sep 04, 2008 5:27 pm

Yes, agreed.

MLS should be designed to work like every other program on Earth does: allow you to select any of a number of printers, but leave the setting of the Default printer to the OS (as a consequence of a user's choice).

Can Java not be designed to do this?

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Postby lajackson » Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:12 pm

In the meantime, the workaround is to go ahead and print to the pdf file, then open the pdf file and print what you had planned to print. You will actually be able to get it to work, usually.

I actually use the pdf option to print the temple recommend update report, or whatever it is called, since the silly Urgent Tasks requires that it be printed almost weekly. Then I just delete the pdf file.

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Postby aebrown » Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:36 pm

mkmurray wrote:Yes, agreed.

MLS should be designed to work like every other program on Earth does: allow you to select any of a number of printers, but leave the setting of the Default printer to the OS (as a consequence of a user's choice).

Can Java not be designed to do this?


I don't think the operation of MLS, nor of other applications is being accurately described in this thread.

MLS does not change the operating system's Default printer, as can easily be verified by going to your list of printers, verifiying that the default is most likely a laser printer, then using MLS to print to the PDF printer, then look at your OS's list of printers. The laser printer will still be the default.

Rather, MLS remembers the printer last printed to in its own configuration settings. It assumes that you are likely to want to print to the same printer again. This is a rather reasonable assumption.

This same assumption is made by many applications. Print to a PDF printer in MS Word, for example. Then print again. Word will default to using the PDF printer -- not because Word changed the OS's Default Printer, but simply because it remembered the printer last used and selected it for the next print job. So in this regard, MLS is not really any different from most other applications.

And now for the way in which MLS does differ from most applications, and which probably should be fixed. MLS remembers the selected printer even after it exits (in the file PrintSettings.properties, in case you're interested). That is a bit unusual, as most applications will remember the selected printer only until the application is exited (although MS Word works almost the same way for me because MS Word is part of Outlook, and I never close Outlook, so MS Word stays running, and as long as it doesn't close, it remembers the last used printer).

But although MLS's persistence of the selected printer even after it exits is annoying, the persistence while it continues to run is pefectly normal. And this behavior means that if you print a report to a PDF printer and then do a Send/Receive that generates anything to be printed, the selected printer will still be the PDF printer. To do anything else would make MLS an unusual application indeed.

I suppose the fact that MLS stores the settings in a simple text file allows for the possibility of a simple script to blank out the value of the PrinterName property in PrintSettings.properties if the way it works really bothers you. But you really shouldn't have to work around this. And by the way, this behavior has nothing to do with Java -- the MLS developers made a conscious decision to persist the selected printer.

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Postby russellhltn » Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:39 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:although MS Word works almost the same way for me because MS Word is part of Outlook, and I never close Outlook, so MS Word stays running, and as long as it doesn't close, it remembers the last used printer


I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that MS Word remembered the last printer used as part of the document. So if you printed your sales brochure to the color printer it would remember that the next time you wanted to print that document.
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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:41 pm

RussellHltn wrote:I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that MS Word remembered the last printer used as part of the document. So if you printed your sales brochure to the color printer it would remember that the next time you wanted to print that document.


Nope. MS Word doesn't work that way -- it works as I described it in my previous post. It's easy enough to test to verify it (which I have done with Word 2003).

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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:19 am

Thank you for the clarifications.
Alan_Brown wrote:But although MLS's persistence of the selected printer even after it exits is annoying, the persistence while it continues to run is pefectly normal. And this behavior means that if you print a report to a PDF printer and then do a Send/Receive that generates anything to be printed, the selected printer will still be the PDF printer. To do anything else would make MLS an unusual application indeed.

I suppose, but this is not really a desirable use case for me as the user. I don't ever want to print Send/Receive reports to PDF printer. Perhaps some might, but I doubt most use the system in this way.

The one saving grace with this is that if you print to a PDF file, you can still print it to a physical printer if desired (as others have mentioned). Still, it would be frustrating to me as a user to see the results you describe.

Here's a question though: In my personal experience, every time I have done a Send/Receive, the Windows Printer dialog pops up for the first printed report every time; then following reports use that same printer throughout the rest of the Send/Receive. But doesn't that Windows Printer dialog pop up again if I were to go and print out another report after the Send/Receive?

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Postby aebrown » Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:42 am

mkmurray wrote:... this is not really a desirable use case for me as the user. I don't ever want to print Send/Receive reports to PDF printer. Perhaps some might, but I doubt most use the system in this way.


If you take the narrow view of this use case, I agree. It's hard to imagine why anyone would choose to print Send/Receive reports to PDF. But the MLS developers obviously have to consider far more than this. What about the use case (which happens for me frequently) of printing multiple custom reports to PDF. Should I have to select the PDF printer for each report? In this case, I'm very happy that the PDF printer stays selected. I can think of many other similar use cases, some involving multiple physical printers (we have our printer we have always had, as well as our new copier that we can also print to).

However, for me the bottom line is that (aside from the persistence of the selected printer after MLS is closed) MLS works like other Windows applications. I think it is entirely unreasonable to expect anything else. MLS displays the Print dialog each time you start to print in a new area of MLS. The selected printer (the one last used) is clearly displayed. If the user fails to pay attention to that prompt, the print job may go to an undesirable printer. But making MLS work differently from most other applications would lead to more, not less user error in this area.

mkmurray wrote:Here's a question though: In my personal experience, every time I have done a Send/Receive, the Windows Printer dialog pops up for the first printed report every time; then following reports use that same printer throughout the rest of the Send/Receive. But doesn't that Windows Printer dialog pop up again if I were to go and print out another report after the Send/Receive?


MLS displays the Print dialog with each new area, but for consecutive print jobs in a single area, the selected printer is used with no further confirmation. For example, as I print a batch of 5 checks, I will be prompted to select the printer for the first check, but the other 4 are printed to the same printer with no further confirmation. But when the summary report for the checks is printed, I am prompted once again. Similarly, the first report printed at the end of a Send/Receive prompts to select the printer, but subsequent post-transmission activity does not prompt. Yet if you then go to print a custom report, or a membership record, or a class roll, or anything else, you will be prompted once again.

In my experience, MLS never makes an incorrect assumption about my desired printer in these sequences where it doesn't prompt again. On occasion, it may prompt me when I don't think it was necessary, but in this regard I think it should err on the side of prompting, so I don't mind.


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