Re: printable documents

Daniel W. Connolly (
Mon, 19 Feb 1996 01:24:53 -0500

Message-Id: <>
To: Erik Aronesty <>
Subject: Re: printable documents 
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Fri, 16 Feb 1996 14:05:07 EST."
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 1996 01:24:53 -0500
From: "Daniel W. Connolly" <>

In message <>, Erik Aronesty writes
>Some docuemnts are intended to be printed in landscape, other in protrait.
>Some are intended to be tiled, other are intended to be scaled to fit.
>I think that it would be proper to define these intentions in a document.
>I also feel it should be easy for an author to express these intentions.

Yes... but is HTML the right medium for this? Why not postscript?

I lean towards a couple mechanisms for printing web pages:

(1) for when the information provider wants complete control of
the hardcopy, put this in the head:

	<link rel=hardcopy href="">

When a browser goes to print a page, it should look for such a link
and offer to use it to drive the hardcopy.

(2) stylesheets. I agree with what Chris Lilly said, except that I think
there _are_ cases where an explicit page break makes sense. I like the

	<hr class=pagebreak>

where hr with class=pagebreak is set up suitably in the stylesheet.

This makes sense for online presentation as well, for powerpoint-like
user agents. Hmmm... for slide presentations, perhaps the following is better:

	<div class=slide>

>Right now, three popular browsers... Mosaic, Netscape, and Internet Explorer
>fail to print documents intelligently.

Not the least of which is proper printing of links. This was one of Engelbart's
requirements from way back. There's an HTML2LaTeX tool that nearly gets it
right (using footnotes.) See:

An Evaluation of the World Wide Web
as a Platform for Electronic

Daniel W. Connolly
$Date: 1995/12/23 03:32:39 $

Essential Elements of an Open Hyperdocument

Engelbart's research was directed at large scale knowledge work; for example,
in the aircraft industry, the interactions between a major manufacturer and its
contractors, subcontractors, and so on. Research and experimentation led to
the following requirements: 

   1.Mixed Object Documents 
   2.Explicitly Structured Documents 
   3.View Control of Object's Form, Sequence, and Content 
   4.The Basic "Hyperdocument" 
   5.Hyperdocument "Back-Link" Capability 
   6.The Hyperdocument "Library System" 
   7.Hyperdocument Mail 
   8.Personal Signature Encryption 
   9.Access Control 
 10.Link Addresses That Are Readable and Interpretable by Humans 
 11.Every Object Addressable 
 12.Hard-Copy Print Options to Show Address of Objects and Address
     Specification of Links 

     Knowledge-Domain Interoperability and an Open Hyperdocument System,
     Douglas C. Engelbart. Proceedings of the Conference on
     Computer-Supported Collaborative Work, Los Angeles, CA Oct 7-10, pp.
     143-156. (AUGMENT, 132082).

>  After searching extenively, I found
>that the 
>online specifications never address the printablity of HTML.

Nor the speakability, smellability, etc. And the online-renderability
is only addressed as a suggestion.

>  At the very least
>suggestions like "breaking before headings" should be documented as an
>internet standard.

Feel free to write a draft on "Hardcopy Considerations for HTML Usager Agents"
or some such and submit it to the IETF. I expect it would be appreciated.

Actually, I think HP and Microsoft are working on such a document, and
collaborating with Dave Raggett here at W3C.