W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > February 2011

Re: Printing and background colors/images

From: Brad Kemper <brad.kemper@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2011 11:40:26 -0800
Message-Id: <3BB8DBE4-034D-443B-A46E-D60FC318A4F0@gmail.com>
Cc: "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>
To: "ifette@google.com" <ifette@google.com>
How about if the author could specify a message that would appear if the user was about to print something with backgrounds suppressed? It would only appear if the author provided the text content. The UA would provide a small preamble ("you are about to print with backgrounds suppressed"), and choices for continue or not and for whether it should be a permanent setting change or not. The author would write something like this:

@warning-no-background: "If you continue, your printout will not show text highlighting."


Brad Kemper

On Feb 22, 2011, at 9:17 AM, Ian Fette (イアンフェッティ)<ifette@google.com> wrote:

> Summary: Want authors to be able to specify whether backgrounds should be printed.
> 
> While it is possible to specify background colors and images for many elements, at present these backgrounds are not printed by default in browsers. Though some browsers offer a setting to print backgrounds, it's usually buried under a dialog no one finds ("page settings"), and I'm not at all convinced that a user would realize that a page using <span style="background-color:yellow">blah</span> requires that setting to print correctly. I was in the middle of adding this option to Chrome when I realized that even after adding this option, we probably would not have solved the problem we originally wanted to solve -- letting something like google docs actually print a document with highlighting, without requiring them to create a PDF just so that highlighted text would print. 
> 
> In talking with other people on Chrome team, we managed to brainstorm a few options, though I am not set on any of them and would really appreciate feedback on which of these is preferable, or any other options as well.
> 
> 1. Just print all backgrounds. Pros: enables the use case. Cons: All sorts of pages with white text on black background are needlessly going to waste a ton of ink. Not likely to fly.
> 
> 2. Print backgrounds only if explicitly specified inside of a @media print{} block. Pros: Relatively explicit in terms of author intent, wouldn't require any major spec changes. Cons: Leads to some strange cases, e.g. if I specify ".highlight {background-color: yellow}" for highlighted text, I also have to explicitly specify "@media print { .highlight { background-color: yellow} }" ? Also, in WebKit, and presumably other browsers, this may lead to implementation difficulty as currently, all the styles are processed and then applied, and no state is kept as to where the style came from. When it's time to paint, the style is overridden if the option to print background colors is in its default state (false), and so this would require carrying around extra state for each resultant style to track if it came from a @media print{} block, which is both a bit heavy, and hacky. It could work though.
> 
> 3. Add an explicit new property, like print-background. Pros: Explicit, wouldn't cause unexpected behaviour by starting to print a bunch of backgrounds that users didn't intend to print. Also relatively straight-forward implementation wise. Easy to understand. Cons: This property would be meaningless outside of a print media context, so semantically it feels a bit odd.
> 
> I'm not in love with any of the options, but I really want to get /something/ in place. The current status-quo, while perhaps looking nice from a semantic/spec point of view, is essentially useless for web authors as virtually no end-user ever has printing of background colors and images enabled, and from a browser standpoint, there's no good way for us to divine if a web author actually intended a background to be printed, or if the author didn't ever think about how something would look on paper, hence we've not been willing to enable that option by default.
> 
> Thoughts?
Received on Tuesday, 22 February 2011 19:41:10 GMT

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