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Cloud Printing Service for Dynamics 365 Business Central
Thursday, April 29, 2021
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Printing in cloud scenarios can be a bit challenging, especially if the number of prints is relatively high and/or the printer is not modern (born in the cloud). Examples are zebra printers using ZPL streams and printing a CMR (freight document) using matrix printers. These printers are often a bit older and can be quite expensive to replace.
Printing should not be blocking any cloud migration so in order to connect older devices to Business Central we decided to share this repository on GitHub.
What does Print Service do?
Business Central allows you to store files in Azure Blob Storage with a simple HTTP request. These files can contain information required for printing such as a ZPL string or a PDF file.
The tool on GitHub allows you to run a windows service on any machine that has a connection to your local printers. Most often this will be an Azure Virtual Machine connected to the local network, but in theory, it can also be an old box sitting in a corner of your office with an internet connection.
Periodically the windows service will connect to the Azure Blob Storage and check for new files. The contents of this file can be processed and sent to any printer using software that is supported using DotNET Framework.
In the example, a ZPL string is sent to a Zebra printer using an open socket connection.
Optionally you can use any publicly available libraries to send contents of PDF files to printers in your network.
An example tool can be pdfprint.exe from VeryPDF.com. This can be executed from the Windows command prompt. Another option is to add SpirePDF to the project from nuget.org.