Cascading Printers

This tip explains a very useful method for configuring Windows printers in Comet98. The method allows a user to open a printer and, if that printer is not available, have Comet automatically redirect the output to another configured printer. If you configure a number of printers this way, the user's request can "cascade" from one printer to the next until Comet finds an available printer. This tip is a supplement to the SYSGEN documentation.

Here's a quick review. in SYSGEN, the Printer command and up to 7 parameters define each printer. Those parameters are:

Printer = printer-name,printer-type,spooling-characteristic,spooler,device-name,DES-program,owning-node;
For example, here's a typical printer configuration showing the essential parameters:
Printer = LP1,W,E,SP1,HP LASERJET 4:RAW,,;
The third parameter defines the spooling characteristics of the printer. Options are N (non), E (exception), and A (auto). If you choose E and then attempt to print to a printer that's either busy or unavailable, your job will be redirected.

Notice that we used the word "redirected," and not "spooled." In the past, the job was spooled to the spooler named in the fourth parameter. Now the fourth parameter can be either a spooler or a printer name. If it's a printer name, the print job is redirected to that printer if the requested printer gets an exception.

For example:

Printer = LP1,W,E,LP2,HP LASERJET 4:RAW,,;
If a user gets an open exception on LP1, their job is redirected to LP2.

This type of configuration lets you create a "bank" of printers that can cascade from one to the next if necessary. This is a great way to configure CometAnywhere printers. Let's say you have a single printer configured for your remote users, as follows:

Printer = L10,W,N,,#:RAW,,;
As you can see, the printer named L10 is a non-spooling printer. The # symbol indicates that output will be sent to the remote user's printer (via COSP on the remote machine).

But, what happens if more than one remote user tries to open L10 at the same time? Because it's a non-spooling printer, the additional users would have a problem.

Here's how to solve that problem. Configure a series of cascading printers beginning with L10:

Printer = L10,W,E,L11,#:RAW,,;  
Printer = L11,W,E,L12,#:RAW,,;  
Printer = L12,W,E,L13,#:RAW,,;  
Printer = L13,W,E,L14,#:RAW,,;  
Printer = L14,W,E,L15,#:RAW,,;  
Printer = L15,W,E,L16,#:RAW,,;  
Printer = L16,W,E,L17,#:RAW,,;  
Printer = L17,W,E,L18,#:RAW,,;  
Printer = L18,W,E,L19,#:RAW,,;  
Printer = L19,W,E,L20,#:RAW,,;  
Printer = L20,W,N,   ,#:RAW,,;
All of the CometAnywhere users could specify L10, and the system would print to the first available printer on the above list. If all CometAnywhere users tried to use L10 at the same time, each user's output would be redirected to the next available printer on the cascade list.

For planning purposes, you should configure the same number of cascading printers as the number of simultaneous CometAnywhere remote users. That way, you won't run out of available printers.

In summary, here's an updated syntax for the Printer command, showing the cascading printer name as an option for the fourth parameter:

Printer = printer-name,printer-type,spooling-characteristic,spooler|cascading-printer-name,device-name,DES-program,owning-node;

F e e d b a c k

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