Re: printer tags for html 3.x

Abigail (
Sat, 23 Nov 1996 00:28:35 -0500 (EST)

Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: printer tags for html 3.x
To: (jeff kendall)
Date: Sat, 23 Nov 1996 00:28:35 -0500 (EST)
From: "Abigail" <>
In-Reply-To: <> from "jeff kendall" at Nov 22, 96 08:10:01 pm

You, jeff kendall, wrote:
++ ----------------------------------------------------------------------
++ I would like to see a &ltpage> or &ltformfeed> tag added to html.
++ When included on a web page, the tag would cause the browser to break
++ the page at the tag.  This allows generation of formatted printed output
++ over the web.  It would be especially useful to those of us doing
++ web-database development when we want to generate reports over the web.
++ Today's method is to do 2 dumps, one to an html file for the user's 
++ browser, and another to another file format such as plain text with
++ embedded formfeeds, or rich text format, for the user to download and
++ print.

But where do you place the page breaks? How do you know which font I
use? Which margins I use? You don't. You _can't_ know. And hence it is
_impossible_ to know what the right place to break is.  Sure, forcing a
break wouldn't be hard, but what good use does a page with half a line
one it (just because it had to break just before your inserted break)

It is _not_ useful for doing HTML stuff, as it isn't device/user
independent. If you insist in dictating the page breaks, then using a
different format _is_ the right thing to do.

And if you keep using HTML, leave it to the user agent; they do a
pretty good job. You can use a style sheet, and indicate places where
you would prefer a break, or rather not have a break so that the user
agent can use that as a guideline; but forcing user agents to do
something of which you cannot know is the right thing is bad.  Very

   Anyone who slaps a "this page is best viewed with Browser X" label on a
   Web page appears to be yearning for the bad old days, before the Web,
   when you had very little chance of reading a document written on
   another computer, another word processor, or another network.
                   [Tim Berners-Lee in Technology Review, July 1996]