by January 2, 2013 0 comments

1. It is not as intuitive as with desktop apps to find how to print

In apps using the modern UI, printing is not as intuitive as with desktop apps. For example, as shown in the image, the built-in Reader app’s app bar, even when expanded to show more options, does not list any means of printing the document even though buttons exist to open and save the document as well as to obtain information about the document’s metadata properties. Each of these 3 functions, like the print function, are usually placed under the File menu in desktop apps but here they are present in the app bar, save for the print option.

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In Windows 8, you need to swipe from the right in order to print in a modern UI app. When you see the charms, you will further need to click/tap on the ‘Devices’ charm, upon which you will finally get a list of printers (installed on your computer) to send your document to (subject to the app supporting printing as well and not just the drivers being installed for the printer). Developers need to make use of the print contract in order to allow their apps to print.

2. You do not need to worry about previewing in your own application

Instead of incorporating custom print previews in your modern UI app, the Windows 8 print platform will make sure that it always gives a preview (on its own) of the print according to the settings chosen by the user. If the user changes print settings, the preview will be updated immediately. Microsoft, based on their research, has incorporated only the 3 most frequently used print settings by default in the print dialog, i.e. copies, orientation and color. Further options are available by clicking on ‘More settings’. However, developers are free to choose which of these settings should appear by default in their apps, depending on the specific requirements and can also specify the default values of these settings.

3. It is a consistent user experience for all modern UI apps

While printing from a browser, say, Internet Explorer 9, modern UI offers a much different user experience from another desktop app such as printing from Adobe Reader X, this does not apply to modern UI apps. Printing in all apps with the modern UI has the same user experience.

4. Understand the possible discrepancies between on-screen modern UI layout and on paper

While the modern UI definitely looks good in terms of laying out different screen elements and ensuring optimal screen space utilization, the same might not look as good when it is transferred to paper. You need to understand how this will affect the content that you need to print and accordingly develop your application so that all necessary formatting is done when a user wants to print something in your app.

5. You are free to use in-app printing and configure it as required.

While the ‘Devices’ charm should work for many cases, you may also want to add in-app printing if printing is an important part of your application’s workflow. A lot of flexibility is allowed here, giving the developer ample freedom to determine the printing experience for the user.

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