How to allow users to print non-PDF documents from a Web page in its original format? 
Author Message
 How to allow users to print non-PDF documents from a Web page in its original format?

We are trying to publish read-only document on the Web that allow users to
print without modification.  We want to preserve the original document
format and content on the printout.

Adobe Acrobat does a very good job for this purpose.  But we don't expect
all users to have the reader installed.  Also, some of the documents are
just in simple text format, but not a PDF file.  Is there a way that we can
print a form or a page from a Web browser with all the text and format
intact?

I came across some sites that can allow users to print out very professional
looking award certificates, invoices or receipts at the click of a button.
The printouts were sent to the users' printer directly.  These documents are
not in PDF format.  But they have logos and text of different fonts and
colours.  I am just wondering what kind of technology are they using.

Can anyone give me some ideas?  Thanks in advance.



Tue, 17 Sep 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 How to allow users to print non-PDF documents from a Web page in its original format?
Quote:

> I came across some sites that can allow users to print out very
professional
> looking award certificates, invoices or receipts at the click of a button.
> The printouts were sent to the users' printer directly.  These documents
are
> not in PDF format.  But they have logos and text of different fonts and
> colours.  I am just wondering what kind of technology are they using.

> Can anyone give me some ideas?  Thanks in advance.

Could be .rtf files or .doc files, but obviously they can be changed. A URL
would help.

--
McWebber
No email replies read.
Weather for your website - Free
http://www.4sarasota.com/weather/



Tue, 17 Sep 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 How to allow users to print non-PDF documents from a Web page in its original format?
Have a look at www.gohtm.com. There is, however, a banner of their's across
the bottom of the page (at least, as it is returned to you by them).

Bob Long
www.oblong.com
---

Quote:

> We are trying to publish read-only document on the Web that allow users to
> print without modification.  We want to preserve the original document
> format and content on the printout.

[snip]


Wed, 18 Sep 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 How to allow users to print non-PDF documents from a Web page in its original format?

Quote:

>We are trying to publish read-only document on the Web that allow users to
>print without modification.  We want to preserve the original document
>format and content on the printout.

Then your question is not on-topic for _any_ of the four groups you
posted to. It's probably least off-topic for alt.html (which is
regarded as a catchall group for Web authoring by several people
there), so I set followups there.

For preserving original format, PDF is probably the most accessible,
so I don't see why you wouldn't use it. Of course it's less accessible
than HTML, which is one reason for using HTML. Another reason is that
HTML is, among other things, aimed at solving the _problem_ that so
many formats more or less preserve the original format. (See "Web
Publishing Is Different, http://www.hut.fi/u/jkorpela/webpub.html )
But if you have special reasons to aim at a rigid format, then PDF is
a practical choice, if you have software that can produce PDF format.
postscript would be another, but hardly better if you need to select
_a_ format.

If you mean that the users should not be _able_ to modify the
documents before printing them or process them in other ways than
printing, then the answer is emphatically: you cannot. The difficulty
of modifying documents may vary of course. But even if the document is
somehow protected by virtue of its own data format, it's just a matter
of cracking the protection. Technically I mean. (It's questionable
whether it would even be illegal.) You could "watermark" the documents
perhaps, somehow, but that would not prevent modifications, just make
it easier to detect that modifications have been made.

As an ultimate proof, consider this simple possibility: OK, let's
pretend I can't modify your document, just print it. Well, I do print
it. Then I use a good scanner, then I change any pixel I like, and
print my version.

Quote:
>Also, some of the documents are just in simple text format - -.
>Is there a way that we can print a form or a page from a Web browser
>with all the text and format intact?

Plain text is no problem on the Web. Just put the texts there, make
sure the server sends them as text/plain, and name the files e.g. so
that the names end with .txt (to avoid the big IE bug with media
types). Again, you cannot prevent users from modifying the data.

Quote:
>I came across some sites that can allow users to print out very professional
>looking award certificates, invoices or receipts at the click of a button.
>The printouts were sent to the users' printer directly.

That's probably just JavaScript trickery which a) won't work when JS
is disabled, b) can be intercepted so that the data is taken and
processed some other way.

Quote:
>I am just wondering what kind of technology are they using.

Well, looking at the source might reveal something, and you might ask
their webmasters.

To summarize, you cannot prevent modifications. If you have a
situation where you have to rely on the documents being printed
exactly as you send them, then you simply need to backtrack to the
point where you made a decision that took you into that impossible
situation.
--
Yucca, http://www.hut.fi/u/jkorpela/
Audiatur et ALTera pars.



Wed, 18 Sep 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 
 [ 4 post ] 

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