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11.6 with an iPad printing cherry on top

Our customers have been clamouring for iPad Printing support over the last year as iPads become a staple in many educational and business environments. Our customers have demanded more than just support for iPad printing though, they need the same functionality as desktop users including print authentication, account selection and viewing of print job status. PaperCut version 11.6 delivers this functionality via the iPad app (screen shots). Originally this feature set was planned for version 12, but due to demand we have brought it forward as a preview for early adopters – it was one of the most requested features for 2011. Expect further innovation and refinements in the mobile printing space heading into 2012. (Note: The iPad App does not require you to have printers that support AirPrint).

PaperCut's iPad App

Behind the scenes, PaperCut has added another member to its support team. Those of you who have called or e-mailed in over the last six weeks may have had their issue looked into by Ian, who is based in our Melbourne office. Amazingly Ian is the first member of the team to pass the recruitment process who does not consume coffee. The team is working hard on this issue, and is confident by version 12 we will have rectified this buggy behaviour.

Testing this release has made the older team members jealous as we wished we’d had iPads in school when we were younger.

The full list of changes in version 11.6 can be found on the release history pages:

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Comments

  • Rob C

    Crazy cool! And it’s not even the 25th yet 🙂

    I’ve been waiting for this one. The students have been asking for printing support ever since we got the iPads. I suppose now they can start using the iPads for important education work… like print out Angry Birds high score sheets 😛

    Great work guys.

  • JC

    Good timing. Just saw the tweet about this. My school district has been looking at introducing iPads for students but the lack of a “PaperCut Class” print control solution has been one of the main stumbling blocks. This may be the turning point that we’re after. Any more information on the system requirements and how it works so I can raise this at work tomorrow?

    • Chris

      @JC. There is a technical description on the top of this page in the manual: ch-iosprinting-advanced.html

      As far as system requirements, you’ll need a Mac 10.7 system to host the print queues (as say a secondary server). More details in chapter 21.

      • PeterB

        So is it even possible that this could be available for Windows print servers in future releases, or does Apple make it so they are the only ones who can talk Airprint?

        • Chris

          Technically it possible. Printer availability is broadcast to the iOS devices via mDNS/Bonjour and the print job delivery is via standard IPP. There is nothing “Apple Only” about this. Also hearsay suggests that Apple may already have some Windows print server support in the works.

          As far as PaperCut’s concerned, we’ve developed our App in a way where it will work for any server OS (actually one of the tasks on my todo list is to have a chat to the Novell iPrint guys as iPrint is native IPP). As long as the jobs enter the print queue with the IP address of the iPad, PaperCut is able to do all our authentication, accounting and job status work.

          When/if Windows support comes out officially from Apple we’ll officially support it. In the meantime (and potentially arguably the best solution long term), a Mac OS X CUPS based system acting as a secondary print server is the best option.

          • PeterB

            Thanks for clarifying that. Makes a lot more sense now.

          • Where the printer rendering happens. Is it on the iOS device or at the MAC X 10.7 ? I am curious to know how different document formats are printed?

          • Tom

            @Arul (we reached the max thread depth 🙂

            iOS devices render the document to a PDF, and CUPS on the Mac OS server re-renders it into the queue’s requested format.

  • Ross

    We must of been good boys/girls to get a treat like this for Christmas.
    I know a few large academies in the UK that have invested in iPad’s for all students, this will make their day.
    It must feel good to get one of the more requested features ticked off the list 🙂

  • Owen

    Any chance of an Android app?

    • Tom

      We hope to look into Android printing in the future. Most likely it will be more like Web Print, where you upload a file and the server prints it for you (due to there not being any in-built printing support, as far as I’m aware).

  • Nice, but I’ve already managed to integrate AirPrint with PaperCut, without the need for a separate app or a Mac OS X server. My solution also works across subnets. I’ve posted details here.

    • Chris

      That’s great work! You should also be able to use the PaperCut iPad Printing App with your integration (assuming the iPad’s IP address is passed through with the print job). The PaperCut App will not be required for authentication, as you’re solution looked after this via winbind, however will still do the other client tasks such as balance/quota display, selecting shared accounts (e.g. teachers can print and allocate their costs to a faculty or department account), as well as track the status of jobs (i.e. see that a print job was denied as they were out of print quota).

      I’ll make sure you’re blog post is also linked in the comments section of your manual as this gives a good alternative setup method for sites that prefer Linux servers rather than Mac.

      • Thanks for the kind words Chris. We upgraded to PaperCut 11.6 yesterday, so we’ll certainly check-out the app soon.

      • Chris H

        Hi Chris

        I tried to get a similar solution working on windows however the stumbling block is jobs are owned by “SYSTEM” when printed via AirPrint. Where does PaperCut expect the IP address information? If there is no place for this info in a windows print queue the I will set up a virtual linux server in Hyper-V and deploy Richard’s solution. On the other hand it feels that I managed to get so much working and would be a shame not to be able to have it running on our windows print servers.

        If you have information that would help on the Windows side I would say it would very very much appreciated by the community even if it was not supported by yourself.

        Chris

        • Chris

          For the PaperCut iPad Printing App to work the PaperCut server needs to know the IP address of the print job. The IP address (via a set period) is used to match up the owner of the job and work out which jobs to display in the App.

          In Windows the IP or machine name is set in a job attribute called MachineName and you can usually see this info in the Windows event log if you’ve turned on event auditing.

          For reference in CUPS the equivalent attribute called “job-originating-host-name”.

          Hope this information helps.

  • Chris M

    This looks amazing… you’ve done such a great job! I know we’ve got a few clients who will LOVE it. Can’t wait to see it in action.

  • Nfonz23

    This is excellent guys, I havent tested it yet but looks extreamly promising and exactly what we are looking for (we are a school looking to implement an iPad program)

  • Gustavo Puente

    Excellent, will try this weekend!!! Greate job guys

  • tecnica

    Papercut is great software! Is complete and new tecnologies

  • Pingback: Miscellaneous Printing from Ipads()

  • Wow.

    I got a new Mini running Lion this morning and had it up and running on my network by 2:30pm. By 3:30pm I was printing from my iPad and correctly charging my PaperCut account.

    I need an Easy button to celebrate! That was the fastest I’ve ever gone from unboxing a computer to the functionality I needed. Thanks to everyone who made this possible!

    • @Christopher : Nice! As developers it’s always great to read a comment like this. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. Happy iPad printing 🙂

  • Chris

    @Arul The iPad/iPhone renders the job into a PDF format before sending through to the server. In the setup we recommend with PaperCut, the iOS device forwards the job through to Mac server in PDF format. The job is then converted into the printer’s native language/PDL (e.g. PostScript) before forwarding onto the physical device. PaperCut intercepts the job at this layer (on the print server).

    Also noticed you made reference to Novell. PaperCut’s iPad printing solution will work with PaperCut’s Novell OES iPrint solution. You’ll need to set up a Mac system to act as a “print server” for the iPads. All the print information will be forwarded to PaperCut running on your OES primary server.

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