Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 37 / JUNE 1983 / PAGE 136


The Printographer
Graphics Printer Package
For The Apple
      Richard Cornelius

The Printographer, by Stephen Billard, is a utility program which processes high-resolution images on the Apple II computer and sends them to a printer. You can perform cropping operations on the high-resolution screen and determine the format in which the image will appear on the printer. The package comes with one disk including instructions on how to make backup copies and a 27-page manual.

Operates With Any Printer
The first question that many people will ask about The Printographer is, "Will it work with my printer?" The answer is yes, indeed, if your printer has any graphics capability. A powerful feature of the program is the ease with which it can be configured to operate with just about any combination of printer and interface.
    If you have one of more than a dozen common printers, you do not need to know any technical details of its operation. From a menu, you can identify your printer and, if applicable, the particular interface card that you have. This menu automatically appears the first time you boot the disk. The printer specifications that you select are then saved to the disk so that on subsequent runs you are moved directly into the main program without having to identify your particular printer again.
    The manual explains how to rerun the printer-selection program should you wish to run The Printographer with a different printer. If your printer is not one of those on the menu, then you explain how your printer processes information, but the program on the disk still does most of the work.
    The Printographer performs its various cropping operations on the high-resolution screen quickly and smoothly. Pictures can be cropped from the top, bottom, or either side, or in a diamond or oval shape within the boundaries you specify. Starting over again is accomplished by a single keystroke, and the mechanics of operating the program are easy to understand.
    However, I did encounter a problem. The cropping instructions are given on the text page and include, logically enough, the use of the question mark to return the instructions to the screen. The first time through the instructions, I paid little attention to them except to remember the use of the question mark.
    Unfortunately, once I was on the high-resolution page for cropping, the question mark generated only a beep from the computer; I saw no instructions. Eventually I found that a CTRL-C would send the program to a point from which I could return to the instructions, but the first time through I had to reboot the disk just to see the instructions again.

Easy To Use
    Most of the program is very easy to use. The general format employs the ESC key to move a highlighting identifier through the menu and the RETURN key to actually select the item that is highlighted. I was impressed with how easy it was to select a high-resolution picture from among a mixture of Applesoft, text, and binary files on one of my own disks. The Printographer gave me a menu of only the highresolution images on my disk. It even ignored other binary files that were not high-resolution pictures.
    The printing routines seem to work exactly as specified. Pictures can be printed in normal or inverse mode, vertically or horizontally on the page, magnified up to nine times, and tabbed over on the page. Routines for doing this printing from your own programs are available (not copy-protected) on the disk with instructions in the documentation on how to use them. Images can also be saved on a disk in one of three forms: a regular binary file, a compressed version that saves space, or a printer image. If you have the right printer setup, this last form allows printer spooling so that the computer is not tied up while the graphics are being printed.
    The documentation is clear and complete. It is not packaged in a fancy (and expensive) padded binder, but it contains all of the information that I would want to know about the software. The primary part of the documentation is written so that no technical knowledge of the Apple or printers is required. The appendices, however, contain technical details such as writing your own printer driver and memory management so you can use some of the Printographer routines within your own programs.
    The backup procedure seems to work well. Parts of the disk are copy-protected. The disk, however, comes with its own copying program which, according to the documentation, will make a total of three backup copies of the disk. This copy program uses a single drive, supposedly for assuring maximum reliability during the copying process. The copy program works essentially like COPYA on the Apple System Master Disk.
    All in all, The Printographer is a useful utility which is relatively easy to use. It comes with complete documentation. The program is not without faults, but technical support is easy to obtain. The price seems in line with the capabilities of the program. Its strongest feature is the manner in which it can easily be configured to work with whichever graphics printer you might happen to have.
The Printographer
Southwestern Data Systems
10761-E Woodside Avenue
Santee, CA 92071