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I am Looping for an iOS app supporting "document sharing" which would allow me to print to a Samba printer.

Use case:

  • open a document (e.g., a PDF) with the app (via the iOS document sharing/document picker functionality, see note below)
  • print to a Samba printer (with authentication).

An example:

  • open the Dropbox App
  • choose a PDF and click on the share button
  • in the list of apps able to open a PDF there should be (among others) the printing app
  • the printing app should then send it to a Samba shared printer

Does such an application exist?

I am looking for an iOS app able to print on an existing infrastructure, not to build an infrastructure to share a printer via AirPrint.

Note: Document sharing is a feature since iOS 8 which allows application to provide documents to other apps via document picker. You can for example open Word file in the Dropbox App using the Microsoft word App

Note 2: I am not looking for a specific app for a single printer/model but a generic one supporting a Samba printer with a PS or PCL gener

  • Maybe I'm just tired, but can you clarify what application it is you're asking if it already exists? Do you mean does an iOS app already exist, or do you mean does a desktop app already exist allowing users to 'share' their Samba printer to iOS devices? Or perhaps either? – Monomeeth Apr 14 '16 at 19:21
  • An iOS app that can print to a Samba printer – Matteo Apr 14 '16 at 19:22
  • Ok, but what if I said that ANY iOS app could print to a SAMBA printer if it was shared in such a way that iOS devices could see it and print to it? – Monomeeth Apr 14 '16 at 19:24
  • Am not looking for a server application. I would like to print to a Samba printer without additional infrastructure. – Matteo Apr 14 '16 at 19:26
  • Depending on the printer there might be a dedicated app for it; Konica Minolta has an app calledPageScope Mobile: biz.konicaminolta.com/solutions/psmobile – Pit Apr 15 '16 at 5:54
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Printers

I work at a school and we have a printing solution in place for iOS. However, there is no way to print from an iOS device directly to a shared printer without a middle step unless the printer has built in support for AirPrint.

The printers at our school do not support AirPrint, so the solution that we have is as follows:

  • Printers are installed on the network (Existing Infrastructure)
  • iOS Devices would like to use the printers
  • Install desired printers to be used by iOS devices on a Mac and share the printers
  • Have an intermediate software to publish the printers, there is many out there but we use Papercut
  • Printers are now advertised in a Bonjour fashion
  • iOS devices can see the printers and print to them

The is just a general overview of how it work at my school, but the idea would be similar everywhere.

Document Sharing

The easiest way that I have found to share document on your network to iOS devices is via WebDav. It is basically file sharing over HTTP. You'll need some sort of Web Server to host the files and then setup a WebDav share.

Types of Web Servers could be as simple as a basic user level NAS that supports HTTP sharing (WebDav) or as complicated as having a Web Server that hosts Virtual Directories to network shares.

Once you have a WebDav server setup, the app I recommend is WebDav Navigator. From this app you'll be able to see all the files on your Web Server that you have shared. You can add authentication and permissions to fit your needs.

Put it all together

Once you have Printing and WebDav setup you can easily print documents from a network location, you may need a few additional apps on your iOS device. Here are some examples:

Print a PDF

Locate the PDF file in WebDav Navigator on your share. Open the file, you may need to open with the Adobe Reader app, or another PDF reading app. Print the PDF to your desired printer.

Print a Pages, Number, or Keynote

These 3 apps all have built in support for WebDav. Each app is much the same, so from the app itself - to save a file on WebDav Click on the share button --> Send a copy --> Choose file format --> Choose WebDav from the list --> Save it on your share

To get a Pages, Numbers, or Keynote file WebDav. Go to the page where you can see all your Documents and Click the Plus button in the top left corner. You should see Copy From WebDav. If you don't see it, click on the More button and you'll find it there.

Once you have the file in Pages, Numbers or Keynote, you will be able to print directly from the app to your desired printer.

Hope this helps

EDIT

Some more info about Papercut

First of all have a really good ready through the iOS setup from Papercut. It goes through step by step how to get Papercut to work on iOS devices. The article is very good.

Papercut doesn't have an iOS app (However at our school we call it the Printing App). It simply installs a Web Clip that links to the Papercut server. Basically a similar site to their Web Print but shows each user their Printing Queues and print jobs that are waiting to be released etc. Users have to be logged into this site before they will be able to print.

We also have multiple network zones. Our are separated by vlans and you are right bonjour will not work across network zones. The work around for up was to buy USB to Ethernet adapters / thunderbolt to Ethernet adapters and plug them into our Mac Mini. I have 5 networks on the Mac Mini all up and it works great for everyone. As you can see this will quickly be a limitation if you have more than 6 network zones (4 USB slots, 1 thunderbolt, 1 native Ethernet - at least on my Mac Mini). The next thing to look at would be an mDNS repeater that forwards bonjour traffic across networks. Avahi is the main one that comes to mind but there is others.

Again, hope this helps

  • We also have PaperCut: is there an iOS app? – Matteo Apr 15 '16 at 6:00
  • I am not speaking about "Document sharing" in general but about the iOS specific APIs: see my edits – Matteo Apr 15 '16 at 6:01
  • As I see PaperCut could advertise the printers via Bonjour but having several networks zones, it will not work (or I am wrong)? – Matteo Apr 15 '16 at 6:02
  • I have added more info to my answer for your consideration. – tyelford Apr 15 '16 at 7:52
  • Thanks for the update. Bonjour will be a problem as we have around 100 vlans. For this reason I was looking for an application using Samba directly – Matteo Apr 15 '16 at 7:55
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If you're asking whether there's an iOS app that can somehow 'see' any Samba printer and print to it, my response is that even your question states: "print to a shared Samba printer".

My point here is that if it's already a shared Samba printer and its shared in a way so iOS devices can print to it, then any iOS app that can open a PDF document could do what you're wanting (i.e. Print to the Samba printer).

Put another way, for an iPhone/iPad etc to print to a Samba printer it must be able to 'see' the printer first. So, unless it's one that supports AirPrint natively, you'd need to use some software to make it visible to iOS devices. There's quite a few options out there (e.g. http://www.netputing.com) that people can use to make their shared printers visible to iOS devices.

Otherwise, as far as I know there is no iOS app out there that can print to a Samba printer that it can't actually see.

I hope this helps, one way or another.

  • There is no need to see the printer with an automatic discovery. It can be configured knowing the address of the server sharing it. As usual on a desktop machine – Matteo Apr 14 '16 at 19:46
  • And my question does not mention a "shared samba printer". An app supporting their document sharing API from iOS printing to a Samba printer – Matteo Apr 14 '16 at 19:48
  • Okay, maybe you could revise your question to be more specific, as it's currently open to interpretation. And, with due respect, your second bullet point does refer to printing to a shared printer. – Monomeeth Apr 14 '16 at 19:52
  • Yes, but a samba printer is shared by definition. – Matteo Apr 14 '16 at 19:52
  • I edited the question – Matteo Apr 14 '16 at 19:53

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