Printing Web Documents
Harlequin is a high technology software supplier recognized as a leader in supplying expert pre-press and electronic publishing software solutions based on open systems. The company is also a major developer of symbolic processing and application software and provides its varied expertise on a consulting basis. Established in 1986, Harlequin operates in a truly global environment in 10 sites across 3 continents. Harlequin is unique in that it builds systems that are "late binding" systems which are adaptable to the rapidly changing circumstances of the industry. As the "late binding company" Harlequin has the expertise to deliver extensible solutions to its customers and partners.
Harlequin has extended its expertise in electronic publishing to the Web with the introduction of WebMaker. WebMaker is a powerful, easy-to-use Web publishing solution for the creation of full featured Web pages from FrameMaker documents. WebMaker represents a first step for Harlequin in developing a family of applications for the Web community. The Web provides many questions and answers as a publishing media, high-quality printing is one of the areas where open solutions need to be created.
HTML is simple, standards-based, inexpensive, and widely supported. We hope it will remain so. A significant part of its success can be traced to its simplicity. Many inexpensive HTML-based applications have been developed, from $99 publishing packages such as Harlequin WebMaker to free browsers such as Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Keeping HTML simple while meeting the ever-increasing demands of Web publishers and readers is a formidable challenge for the W3C. These demands fall into two categories:
- To better express the features of popular DTP packages (layout, document linking, etc.)
- To better utilize the unique features of different mediums (interactivity of WWW browsers, high resolution of printed paper, etc.)
In order to continue to meet market demands HTML needs to continue to evolve. It should do so as an open standard to be developed by the W3C. CSS is a part of this evolution as it provides many of the layout features already implemented in popular DTP applications, while retaining HTML's simplicity.
Currently, neither HTML nor CSS are programmable. A programmable interchange language for Web documents could be a significant addition to HTML. As a programmable language, HTML could, like the PostScript language, be both simple and powerful.
Harlequin's experience with the PostScript language and the WebMaker Language (which describes how to convert a structured document into HTML) support this view. A programmable language allows users to innovate and develop new high-level features which solve their problems.
CSS level 1 provides many needed controls for on-screen layout, but does not adequately address the demands of printing. For HTML style sheet capability to compete successfully it will need to be designed for both viewing and printing. Additional CSS and HTML features should be considered to achieve high-quality printing:
- text flow and pagination controls such as keep-with-next
- paper-oriented master-page features such as headers and footers
- font controls such ligatures and kerning
- conditional assembly of HTML documents and pages
- high-resolution images and resolution-independent graphics based on open standards
Harlequin as a leader in high-quality electronic printing would like to collaborate with other members of the W3C to develop open standards and solutions to the rapidly growing demands of the Web community.