Re: regions/contexts - printable HTML

T. Joseph W. Lazio (lazio@spacenet.tn.cornell.edu)
Fri, 16 Feb 1996 09:25:03 -0500


From: "T. Joseph W. Lazio" <lazio@spacenet.tn.cornell.edu>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 1996 09:25:03 -0500
Message-Id: <199602161425.JAA01086@ism.tn.cornell.edu>
To: erik@inch.com
Cc: www-html@w3.org
In-Reply-To: <1.5.4b11.32.19960216015322.002d554c@inch.com> (message from Erik Aronesty on Thu, 15 Feb 1996 20:53:22 -0500)
Subject: Re: Re: regions/contexts - printable HTML

>>>>> "EA" == Erik Aronesty <erik@inch.com> writes:

EA> lazio@spacenet.tn.cornell.edu writes...

 in a private email, but yes, I did write this:

>>> Often I find pages that have awkward links: "to print this
>>> document, go <A ...>here</A>".
>>> 
>> That's probably more of a hardware issue.

 Now that I read this, I'm not quite sure what I meant.  I was
probably thinking that the issue of printing depends upon the hardware
available (e.g. it's pretty difficult to print a document without a
printer), and the link might indicate various means of obtaining
hardcopies.

 In any case,

EA> There is no way that the server...or the hardware can accomidate
EA> the fact that HTML documents have no tags in them which allow
EA> documents to be printed.

 The server shouldn't care about printing.  It's job is only to serve
up the document on request, whether it be to a browser, a knowbot, or
what have you.  The hardware is important, because the determines
what, if anything, the user can print.

EA> In order for HTML to become a document standard, there must be an
EA> acceptable way of adding print specifications to the document. 

 I disagree.  The strength of HTML is its device-independence.  It's
not obvious how adding device specific tags will improve HTML.

EA>  It is rediculous to respecify margins and paper settings for each
EA> document..or to allow the browser to break the page wherever it
EA> pleases.

 Here we come to the crux of the matter.  It's the browser's job to
handle margins, paper settings, and page breaks.  If your browser
doesn't allow you to set some default settings for printing, complain
to its maker or find a better browser.

 Of course, the browser should not allow page breaks at random.  As
others on this list have pointed out, good page breaks include before
<H?> and at an <HR> while bad page breaks include immediately after an
<H?>.

 To return to your original question, though, a good use of style
sheets would be to allow the author to suggest where good and bad page
breaks should occur.

EA>   Also it is ALWAYS the case that different fonts and layouts are
EA> acceptable

 Which is perhaps the most powerful argument for *not* including this
information in HTML.  Have you ever set the page breaks for a document
assuming it would be printed at 12pt, then printed it at 10pt?  Try it
some time.

EA> I would propose the following:
[...]
EA> <PRINT NOPRINT> This region will not be printed, only seen

EA> </PRINT>

 Wouldn't work.  Once the document's been sent, the browser has it.
Thus, the browser (and the person controlling it) can do whatever it
pleases to the document, which includes ignoring the author's ideas of
how the document should or should not be presented.

EA> <PRINT NOREAD>

EA> This region will not be seen, but will be printed

EA> </PRINT>

 See above.