Viewing/Printing Options for ADS articles

Notes for Microsoft Windows Users
  • Retrieving compressed files
  • Viewing PostScript and PDF files
  • Printing files
  • Viewing PCL files

  • Notes for Microsoft Windows Users

    Retrieving compressed files

    To make efficient use of disk space and network bandwidth, we give our users the option to retrieve articles in a compressed format. The two compression schemes supported are UNIX compress and the superior GNU's gzip format. (Precompiled versions of GZIP.EXE for MS-DOS are available at the Free Software Foundation's ftp site.) Well-behaved browsers will recognize the compressed data stream (without confusing it with the content-type of the data being transmitted) and will uncompress it before launching the appropriate helper application.

    Unfortunately, many MS-Windows based Web browsers (including Netscape Navigator 3.x and Microsoft Explorer 3.x) ignore the compression information when retrieving these files, requiring the user to uncompress the files by hand before launching a viewer or printing them. The next versions of both browsers are rumored to fix this problem. A couple of workarounds to this problem exist, but require additional software tools to be installed.

    Viewing PostScript and PDF files

    In order to view articles downloaded in PostScript format, you will need to install a postscript viewer and then configure your browser to use it when a file with a content-type of application/postscript is retrieved. This is typically done by creating or editing the appropriate entry in your browser's helper application menu, but most postscript viewers automatically configure these tables at installation time. One shareware application available under MS-Windows is GSview, which is capable of reading gzipped files, which allows it to work around the compression problem mentioned above. Both viewers use Aladdin Ghostscript as their PostScript interpreter which can handle both level1 and level2 compliant PostScript files as well as PDF files (as of version 5.0). This means that you can also configure these programs as helper applications for files of content type application/pdf. The other shareware alternative available for viewing PDF files is Adobe Acrobat Reader.

    Printing files

    Once a file is downloaded from the ADS article service, printing can take place in a variety of ways depending on the type of applications and printing devices available locally to the user. As a general handy interface to printing files under MS Windows we recommend using a shareware program called PrintFile.

    By installing Gsview (see above) as well as PrintFile on your system, you will be able to print PostScript files on a non-postscript printer, as well as PCL and plaintext files. If you then configure PrintFile as your browser's helper application for the MIME type of application/remote-printing, you should be able to have the program be automatically launched when retrieving documents form the ADS article service using the "Send to Printer" option.

    A more rudimentary way to automatically send a file to a printer on an MSDOS-based system is to create a batch script and configure the browser to use it as the helper application. The script can be created with a text editor and should contain just the following line:

        COPY/B "%1" PRN:
    Which instructs to copy the input file in binary mode to the default printer device. Save the script as a file called, e.g. BINPRINT.BAT, and then configure your browser to use it as the helper application for documents with MIME type application/remote-printing as described in the article printing help page. Please be aware that all this batch script does is send a file to the printer port, and is therefore uncapable to properly convert documents to the format expected by your printer, so you have to make sure that your printer is capable of handling the file being sent to it. For instance, if you have a Deskjet printer and want to use this procedure to automatically print files downloaded from our web site, you should select PCL as the output article format. Please also note that this approach is not always the best possible solution as far as printing is concerned since by selecting PCL as output format you will miss the advantages offered by formats such as PDF and Postscript level2, such as higher resolution and better compression.

    Viewing PCL files

    A freeware application which is reportedly capable of both viewing and printing PCL files on a variety of printers is available from Page Technology Marketing, Inc. We have not used this software so we cannot comment on it. Please let us know if you find it useful and/or have other suggestions or pointers about it.

    Last updated: 6/6/2000