Chapter 11. Printing with Flex

Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight.

Bill Gates

In general, the process of printing from web applications works a little differently compared to printing from the desktop. Web applications have good reason for not allowing direct access to a user’s printer: malicious websites could immediately start printing their fliers on your home or corporate printer, offering you anything from pizza delivery to adult entertainment. That’s why you can’t write a program in JavaScript that would automatically detect all available printers and send them print jobs. That’s why the user is forced to manually select the printer via the web browser’s pop-up dialog window.

Existing Flash Player bugs add more issues for Flex developers; for example, the Print dialog might not report all features of the available printer, and setting such parameters as tray selection or paper size might not be possible. To put it simply, you may not have complete control over the user’s printer from an application running in Flash Player. You may need to adjust your reports to standard printer settings.


Adobe had a product called FlashPaper that tried to mitigate these limitations by adding ActionScript 2 objects to a special control with complete access to the printer. In 2008, however, Adobe discontinued FlashPaper, apparently promoting printing PDF documents using Acrobat instead.

The process of printing from Flash Player ...

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