Balthisar’s Guide to Non-Supported Mac OS X Printing

Back in 2001, Apple released Mac OS X 10.1 “Puma”, which was regarded as Apple’s first stable release of what is today macOS. Although there had been a public beta (“Kodiak”) and a 10.0 (“Cheetah”) release, Puma was the true indication of where Mac OS X was heading.

For many people, it was disappointing that their printers wouldn’t print, especially given that macOS was Unix, and Unix could print fine to nearly any device in existence.

All it took was some knowledge of Unix and macOS in order to coerce the OS into printing, and thus was born “Balthisar’s Guide to Non-Supported Mac OS X Printing.”

Although initially released as a PDF, I turned it into an HTML document in fairly short order, where it’s been hosted on this website ever since. And for some reason I’m unable to determine, it still remains a popular read, and so I hesitate to take it down completely.

However, it’s old, and with the release of Mac OS X 10.2 (“Jaguar”), which fixed printing, its information has been obsolete for a long, long time.

On the other hand, continuing to support integration of the guide with the main website is tiresome and time consuming, and so it was time to do something. And so I did: in about two hour’s time, I converted it a Middlemac 3.0 project and decided to release it as a macOS Help Book.

Normally, a Help Book requires a macOS application to host it, i.e., you must use the application’s Help menu to see the contents. Except, Apple have been using an internal framework called “Eagle” to build Help Books with universal deployment as a goal, meaning they work equally well in Apple Help Viewer and when served to whatever browser you happen to be using. They even support search in the browser.

It’s fairly interesting (to me, at least) to see such old content represented in Apple’s still-current technology. It also impressed me how simple it is to write a function Help Book so quickly with Middlemac.

In any case, take a walk down Unix and macOS memory lane, and check out “Balthisar’s Guide”, and if you need to write Help Books for your macOS application (or documentation for your iOS app, or anything at all, really), then check out Middlemac.

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