How to Implement Printing for Oracle Applications: Getting Started

How to get started on installing printers for E-Business Suite (EBS)? What are the general steps for installing a printer in order to successfully generate and print concurrent report programs from EBS

1. PRINTER

The Oracle Applications printer name must be the same printer name that works at the Operating System (OS) command line on the server where the concurrent processing server resides.

If files in Postscript format will be generated and printed from Oracle Applications, make sure to setup a raw OS print queue so that Postscript files will be passed to the target printer without any filtering or actions by the OS print queue or print command. On the Windows Platform, ensure that the printer’s operating systems driver supports the Postscript language and supports the make and model of printer being installed.

Any printer that can be controlled with embedded printer commands, such as PCL, or supports the Postscript language can be used with Oracle Applications, seeNote 353071.1 “Where Can I Find A List Of Supported Printers For EBS?”

The only EBS OS print queue requirement is that the print queue is defined and functional from the Concurrent Processing (CP) servers. The same OS print command that works at the OS command line will be used within the EBS printer driver and configuration files. As per Oracle Applications System Administrator’s Guide, the Common UNIX Printing System (CUPS) can be used but not required.

The target printer does not have to be physically connected to the CP server. The printer can be a remote printer connected to the CP server with any OS networking software tool, such as TCP/IP printing. Please contact your OS Administrator or OS vendor for assistance with any OS print queue and/or networking issues.

 

2. PRINTER TYPE

A printer type lists which styles and drivers are available to the assigned printer.

Group printers according to make or family model and utilize a unique printer type name. All printers are not the same or possess the same capabilities and functions. Using only one printer type such as the “HPLJ4SI” type, with one set of printer drivers, to support all make and model of printers may not allow for fine adjustments to one particular printer or a group of printers. That is to say, a change or fine adjustment intended for a specific printer may adversely affect all printers on the instance using the same printer type or driver.

 

3.   PRINT STYLE

A print style specifies the layout of the report’s output file. It is also matched with a driver that supports the same layout for printing.

In a full installation of Oracle Applications there are some 7,500 registered programs, of which 2,800 programs are defined as Oracle Reports. Approximately 70% of these Oracle Reports programs are designed as landscape reports–portrait and landwide are the next two widely used styles.

Therefore, setup the three most widely used styles (landscape, portrait, and landwide) for all printers and do not attempt to make corrections to the associated drivers on a “report by report” basis. Individual reports that do not work well with the three main print styles and printer drivers may need a special or custom style / driver to print correctly. Custom reports will typically require a custom print style or driver, see Note 357941.1 “Applications Product Support Guidelines Regarding Custom Reports and Programs”

Hint:  For ease and convenience in release 11i, rather than creating new styles, use the existing styles “as is” or modify them as needed. The bulk of the printing instructions are contained in the printer driver and the SRW driver; therefore, the same print style can normally be re-used with several different printers and printer types.

 

4. PRINT DRIVER

A printer driver provides the needed commands to initialize a printer and to invoke an OS print command or a print program or routine.

Oracle Applications provides a simple beginning set of printer drivers. These generic or plain drivers are working examples intended for the printer make or model stated in driver name and description. They may or may not work optimally with other printers. Oracle does not provide additional deliverable examples; therefore, outside of this set, a custom printer driver needs to be defined.

An initialization and reset string is needed to define a printer driver in Oracle Applications. The initialization string, also known as a “setup string”, is printer dependent information. It instructs the printer on which printing characteristics are needed for the document to be printed. The printer’s vendor typically supplies the initialization string or provides information on how to construct printer-controlling commands.

Typically a simple initialization string can be found in the printer’s user guide or technical reference manual. The back of the manual should have a section on supported printer command languages and/or commonly used printer commands and control characters, seeNote 152285.1 “Building a Printer Initialization String for Oracle”

The best setup method is to create an initialization string using the printer command language utilized by your printer. An alternate setup method is to test existing printer drivers for compatibility with your printer. Unfortunately, the latter choice is a “trial and error” approach that may or may not achieve the desired printing appearance. For precision printing, like checks or pre-printed forms, the initialization string will likely require fine tuning, see Note 106186.1 “How to Test an Initialization String Outside of Oracle Applications”.

The Apps driver’s “Arguments” field needs to contain the print command that works at the operating systems command line on the server where the concurrent manager resides. Printers on the Windows platform with shared and/or networked printers may need to be registered with the Windows Universal Naming Convention (UNC) of \\Server_Name\Printer_Name, according to the print command that works form a DOS / Command window.

When using the UNC to register the printer in the Apps form, include the slashes with the names.

 

5. SETUP STEPS

Existing printer types, styles, and drivers can be modified or a new record can be created. Adding a new record is the preferred approach. The printer type, styles, or drivers can have any name that best describe its usage. Additionally, it is more secured during upgrades than modifying seeded records; that is, Oracle seeded records can be overwritten by a patch or an upgrade process.

Concisely, the steps required to defined a printer for Oracle Applications are as follows:

1.Setup and verify the operation of the printer and print queue at the operating system level–test from the OS command line prompt.

2.  Identify, select, or define a new Apps printer drivers that will support the specified printer make or model.

3.  Identify, select, or define a new Apps printer type to register all needed printer styles and drivers.

4.  Register an Apps printer name and associate an Apps printer type to the newly registered printer name.

For detailed setup instructions, please review the chapter titled “Printers” in the Oracle Applications System Administrator’s Guide. Also see Note 123140.1 “How to Setup Printer for Oracle Applications 10.7 – 11.5.x” and Note 112172.1 “Oracle Applications Character Printing”

NOTE 1:  Please keep in mind that Apps printer driver information is cached in memory, the concurrent manager will need to be bounced in order to make any recent changes take effect.

The following Notes may be helpful with common setup problems and oversights:

Note 262796.1 “Standard Reports Just Print the First Row or Double Space”
Note 359716.1 “Apps Reports Generate and/or Print With Incorrect Page Break Points”
Note 352384.1 “Reprint Does Not Correctly Print When The Original Request Is Formatted By Noprint”
Note 189708.1 “Oracle Reports 6i Setup Guide for Oracle Applications 11i”

 

6. PASTA

If the target printer supports the Postscript language and a quick & effective setup is desired, without having to seek, utilize, or understand PCL initialization strings or line termination commands, Pasta can greatly help with setting up a printer.

Oracle Applications has a printing tool called PASTA that can help Administrator quickly configure a Postscript ready printer. Although Pasta is optional for most installations, it required for multilingual installations and installations using the Unicode / UFT8 character set, see Note 356501.1 “How to Setup Pasta Quickly and Effectively”

PASTA is the only viable solution when dealing with multiple languages and multiple printers in a UTF8 / AL32UTF8 character set environment. Otherwise, an extensive amount of time will be spent identifying which fonts are supported by a particular symbol set and which symbol set matches up well with the Unicode super set. “Most printers can not handle UTF8 encoded data”. As per the Printing chapter in the Oracle Applications System Administrator’s Guide, “In order to print reports with the UFT8 character set, you ‘must’ configure PASTA”.

Please reference the following notes for more information on PASTA:

NOTE:420019.1 – Pasta Overview
NOTE:356501.1 – How to Setup Pasta Quickly and Effectively

Reference:  Doc ID 269129.1

 

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