Silverlight 3: LOB without printing?

Looks like Silverlight 3 is very much geared towards line of business applications. That’s great and I guess what many people were looking for, including me.

So what does one need for a typical LOB application anyway? For me there are three front end ingredients:

  • editors (date, currency, etc.)
  • grid
  • printing

First two points are covered pretty well, and if they aren’t you can implement them by yourself or use 3rd party controls. The problem is the third point: printing.

I have yet to see a LOB application that doesn’t do any printing. Heck, even Notepad does printing. Since there is much talking about LOB acronym in conjunction with Silverlight 3 I’d assume printing will be natively supported by Silverlight 3. Now, sit down and take a deep breath: there is no printing support feature announced whatsoever! Looks like Microsoft is creating a new bread of LOB applications: green ones – they won’t pollute the earth with wasted papers. That’s good in the time of global warming. But that’s not good for LOB applications nor for Silverlight 3.

Imagine a customer asking: “The application looks great but how can I print the reports?
Manager/whatever (selling a Silverlight 3 application): “You can’t but you can see the data in 3D using your graphic card’s GPU! Why would you need printing for?
Silverlight 3 developer (kicking in): “Ehm, there is a PrtScn button on the keyboard.

Looks like I am not alone in printing quest (just to name first two from what I’ve read):

Redmon Developer News readers
Oliver Sturm (point 1 on the list)
… (I am sure the list is a long one)

Comments (2) -

  • rshelby

    7/3/2009 10:35:50 AM | Reply

    I share your grief and same experience.  I didn't find out about the lack of print support in Silverlight 2 until it was too late.

    However in the meantime I created a datagrid control that automatically generates a print friendly view of the data inside most datagrids.  It generates the data after the itemssource is set or changed, so even if you change the data based on filters it will update the printview.  It doesn everything clientside, so you never have to make an extra trip to the server in order to display the printview to the user.  It's not a perfect solution since it only handles silverlight datagrids, but I'll take it over nothing.

    The control is at www.rshelby.com/.../...light-datagrid-control.aspx

  • business cards

    2/18/2010 11:39:35 AM | Reply

    Ha haa! So the main way that managers would be able to print their data from LOB Silverlight applications is to PrintScreen, save the file in Paint, and then print it out. Pretty crazy! Perhaps Microsoft could consider offsetting some carbon emissions or something if they are trying to be greener…

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