Windows 8 app printing features explained

Print is not dead, at least not yet. That means people will still want to print out certain documents. Microsoft is giving Windows 8 app developers a way to add printing features to their software, even from touch screen user interfaces.

In a new post on the official Windows 8 app developer blog, Microsoft says, "To print in Windows 8, you swipe from the right-side of the screen to see the charms. If an app supports printing, you will see all the printers installed on your computer when you tap on the Devices charm." You can see an example of that in the image above.

The Windows 8 app print platform also has support for showing a preview of the print content in the print window. Microsoft says that only three printer settings (Copies, Orientation, and Color) are shown by default in a Windows 8 app.

Windows 8 apps can use the print contract to communicate to the print platform of the OS. Microsoft recommends that app developers give some thought to the kinds of content that their users might want to print out from their app. It states:

If your app captures photos, for example, would she appreciate being able to print a copy and frame it in her home? Thinking through your app’s scenarios will help you choose the content that needs to be printable from your app and help you design the best printing experience for your customers.

The blog offers up some example code for developers to add print support in both  HTML-based and XAML-based Windows 8 apps. Microsoft said that app developers who work in XAML will have more work to do in order to supporting printing. It states:

You need to define how the print content is laid out for your app and determine what pagination means. This way you can control the content of each page to determine exactly what content you want your app to print. As you might expect, you use XAML to define the layout of your app’s printed content just like you use XAML to define the layout of what goes on the screen.

Source: Windows 8 app developer blog | Image via Microsoft

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