Tyler Willis Tue Mar 12

Streamline Print Management by Integrating CUPS with Ignition

Mastering print job management across diverse printers and networks no longer has to be a complex task. By integrating CUPS with Ignition, you gain control over your print management challenges. Whether you're struggling with centralized management or compatibility issues, we've got you covered with practical insights and solutions. Let's dive in and transform your print management experience for the better.

Understanding CUPS within Ignition

Let's start with the basics. CUPS, or Common Unix Printing System, is an open-source printing system developed by Apple primarily for Unix-like operating systems such as Linux, macOS, and FreeBSD. It allows these systems to function as print servers, supporting printing to both local and network printers via the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP).

Why Integrate CUPS with Ignition

Harnessing the synergy of CUPS with Ignition can significantly boost your print management capabilities. Here’s what this integration brings to the table:

Centralized Print Management 

With Ignition, you can manage all your print jobs and queues from a unified interface, streamlining processes with notable efficiency.

Broad Compatibility

Thanks to CUPS’s support for a wide range of printers, you can anticipate seamless integration in even the most demanding industrial environments.


Tailor solutions for your specific needs by customizing print functions to meet operational requirements on the plant floor.

Choose Your Path: Printing Option with CUPS in Ignition

Option 1: External Service

By setting up an external Python service that communicates through REST API, you create an adaptable environment for your printing operations.

  • Remote Accessibility: Access and manage print jobs from any location.
  • Effortless Integration: Effortlessly integrate with more applications across different platforms.
  • Scalability: Easily scale to accommodate growing demands.
  • Standardized Communication: Streamline communication between CUPS and Ignition with HTTP methods.
  • Real-Time Updates: Get real-time insights on print tasks and printers.
  • Setup Complexity: Setting up the REST API for CUPS can be technically complex and require specialized knowledge.
  • Security Risks: Exposing printer services over an API may pose security risks if not configured correctly.
  • Network Reliability: Relying on consistent network performance can lead to issues during network outages.
  • Resource Intensive: Maintaining the API service may be resource-intensive depending on its setup.
  • Potential for Latency: System and network loads may cause latency issues when processing print jobs.

Option 2: Custom Module

Alternatively, you can opt for a custom module developed specifically for Ignition.

  • Seamless Integration: A module intended for Ignition offers a more seamless and stable integration.
  • Enhanced Performance: Experience better performance and faster response times compared to interfacing through a REST API.
  • Direct Access to Ignition Features: Access certain features within the Ignition core modules and customize functions.
  • Enhanced Security: A closed module reduces exposure to external threats.
  • Reduced Dependency on External Services: Eliminate the need for external API services.
  • Development Complexities: Requires a deeper understanding of Ignition's framework and SDK system.
  • Upgrade Considerations: Custom modules may require modifications to remain compatible with Ignition upgrades.
  • Less Community Support: Expect to invest more in research and development due to the limited support offered with Ignition SDK.

Next Steps

To fully leverage the potential of CUPS with Ignition, I recommend considering the following actionable steps:

  • Expand Functionality: Include features like polling printer statuses for diagnostics.
  • Enhance Error Handling: Provide more detailed error descriptions for effective troubleshooting.
  • Project Cleanup: Streamline development by removing unnecessary files and folders.
  • Implementing Unit Tests: Accelerate future development and bolster module reliability.
  • Documentation: Create comprehensive documentation to aid users in navigation and operation.
  • Source Control: Publish your codebase to a source control platform like GitHub or Azure DevOps for collaboration and version control.

The integration of CUPS with Ignition emerges as a formidable ally in the realm of printing management within industrial environments. Whether your choice lies with external services or a distinct module, the benefits –centralized management, compatibility, and flexibility – set the stage for a more efficient, controlled print environment.


Tyler Willis

Industrial Programmer II




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