NetworkWorld ran an article in their 4/21 issue regarding Internet Printing
that highlights Microsoft's NT printing activities and the IETF IPP work.
Microsoft explores Web-enabled printing for NT
By Christine Burns
Microsoft Corp. has got feelers out for the best way to implement
Web-enabled printing in future versions of Windows NT.
At the same time, the company is working with Internet Engineering
Task Force (IETF) partners on a common protocol for sending print jobs
across the Internet.
It is unclear whether Microsoft will ship the new NT feature before
the standard is finalized.
Given the ease with which users can share files across the Internet,
vendors have begun looking at ways to let individuals send print jobs from
any desktop to any printer using standard World-Wide Web technologies. This
same technology could eventually simplify management of remote printers
using the Internet, as well.
Novell, Inc. and IBM - two leaders in the IETF effort - have committed
to supporting the emerging standard in all of their operating systems.
Microsoft acknowledged its involvement in the standards work and general
plans to implement Web-enabled printing in NT.
'However we decide to implement Internet printing in NT, we will also
support the IETF standards,' said Enzo Schiano, group product manager for
Windows NT Server. Schiano would not say whether this printing feature
would appear in the upcoming NT 5.0 release or a later version.
While Schiano declined to comment on implementation, documents
submitted to the IETF by Microsoft do offer insights on Web-enabled
printing for NT.
A slide presentation shows an NT client sending a print job over the
Internet to an NT server.
The client machine employs a 32-bit Internet/HTTP print provider,
which sends the print job to an NT print server running Microsoft's
Internet Information Server and integrated HTTP print server software. This
HTTP print server receives the raw HTTP command from the client and
forwards it to the appropriate networked printer.
The slides also show a browser getting an HTML view of printer status
and job information that was generated automatically by the NT print server.
While Microsoft weighs its options, the standards effort moves ahead.
The IETF working group two weeks ago produced a preliminary draft of
the Internet Printing Protocol. IPP defines client and server functions for
A formal draft of the IPP specification is expected in December.
Products based on IPP will not appear until 1998.
Industry analysts were skeptical about Microsoft maintaining
compatibility with IPP products.
'They forced the printer vendors into their proprietary camp
before,' said Angele Boyd, vice president of peripheral research with
International Data Corp in Framingham, Mass. 'It's a tough call to choose
between Microsoft's market and that of Novell, Netscape [Communications
Corp.] and IBM combined. They might have to support multiple protocols.'
The first version of IPP defines a common interface by which computers
locate printers across the Web, submit jobs to them, query the status of
the printers and jobs, and cancel previously submitted jobs.
This version will give administrators some ability to monitor Web
printers, but future versions will support advanced printer management
features, said Scott Isaacson, a print services architect at Novell.
Isaacson said Novell will support IPP in future versions of its
yet-to-be-released Novell Distributed Printing Service. Additionally,
Novell will build extensions that address management and usability functions
not included in the IPP specification.
Principal Engineer - Advanced Printing Standards - Xerox Corporation
701 S. Aviation Blvd., El Segundo, CA, M/S: ESAE-231
Phone +1-310-333 8273, Fax +1-310-333 5514
Email: manros at cp10.es.xerox.com