[Whatwg] Request for HTML-only print link

Stijn Peeters stijn.p at hccnet.nl
Sat Jul 28 19:30:29 PDT 2007

Sander schreef:
> Sander Tekelenburg schreef:
>>>> A lot of site owners just don't want to do that as it turns the focus on
>>>> the browser instead of their.
>> Well, tough :) Users matter more than authors. (See
>> <http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/ProposedDesignPrinciples#head-97abe59da6732ca0ab8a6d9d863b100bf1e51266>.)
>> So when what authors want to do harms users, it is not a good idea to have
>> HTML cater for those authors.
> But a lot of users just don't know their browser and they just don't 
> really bother to learn. They want things the easiest way, which in 
> this case would be that "print" does print when you click on it.
> I agree that it would be best if users knew how to use their 
> applications to the full extend, but that's just not reality for a 
> large part of users. Perhaps you have geek parents. I don't and I know 
> a lot of people like them who don't even know what a browser is 
> although they use them every now and then or even quite regularly.

They don't have to know it is a browser. All major browsers follow 
certain interface conventions, one of them being that the print dialog 
is located under "File". The "average computer user" you are talking 
about, with little knowledge about browsers and the like, will probably 
assume that this program (the browser) also follows the convention and 
look for the print option where they expect it to be - "File", the place 
where it also is in their e-mail program, word processor, MS Paint, 
whatever. If the browser does not follow these conventions, then the 
average computer user is probably not using it. That a control is, in 
certain browsers, hidden in a menu somewhere is not a valid reason to 
make it directly accessible from HTML.

The browser's user interface however is not relevant at all here. For 
all you know your site is being viewed via a chromeless window - how is 
the user going to navigate forwards and backwards then? There are no 
buttons for those actions either. Just because not all user agents have 
the same functionality or interface features does not mean that HTML 
should make up for that. On the contrary - somehow enabling HTML to 
control printing would imply that a conforming UA is expected to support 
this, while it should be completely irrelevant whether the UA supports 
printing or not.

Anyway, as Anne pointed out earlier, the functionality you originally 
requested is already somewhat implemented. <a media="print"> would 
indicate to the UA that the document pointed to was meant for printing; 
this should be enough already. I can imagine an UA handling a link for 
media="print" would somehow indicate this to the user. I would agree 
that this could perhaps be defined more clearly in the spec. However 
having an attribute or technique specifically designed for printing out 
something is in my opinion, for the reasons I stated above and those 
which were mentioned by others, outside the scope of HTML and undesirable.



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