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Make Your Website Printer Friendly

Making your website printer friendly is kind of like flossing – everyone knows you’re supposed to do it, but few people bother because it’s such a pain.  Now you can use PrintWhatYouLike to generate a printer friendly format for your site!  No programming knowledge is required, and it only takes a couple minutes.

Here’s how it works: 1) Use the PWYL editor to format a page on your site for printing. 2) Copy the print button code to your blog. 3) When a reader clicks the button on your site, your changes will be applied to the page the reader is viewing, rendering it for print.

In addition to providing your readers with a nicely formatted page for printing, there are also options to save the page as a PDF, customize the page, and undo all the changes.

Check out the video: http://blip.tv/file/2248343

Add the button to your own site here: www.printwhatyoulike.com/print_button

June 16, 2009 at 5:42 pm Leave a comment

PageZipper – read more, click less

We just released a bunch of new features for PageZipper!  Viewing image galleries is now a breeze, and Firefox users can enjoy the Firefox Extension.

PageZipper takes articles which have been split into multiple pages and merges them back to one.  So when you get to the bottom of an article, instead of clicking “Next” and staring off into space for 5 seconds while the page loads,  just keep on reading.  PageZipper will get the next page and add it to the bottom of the page you’re on.

PageZipper is most useful on image galleries.  IMHO image galleries that put each image on a seperate page are a blight on the human race.  Have you ever been on a gallery that’s so slow you actually click “next” as soon as the page loads, because you will be done viewing the image before the next page loads??  Well PageZipper makes photo galleries work the way nature intended. Just click control down. PageZipper will automatically center the next image in your browser.  Continue clicking control down to view the remaining images.  Press control-up to view the previous image.  PageZipper takes care of figuring out which images are part of the gallery, and which pages needs to load to get those images.  It even resizes any images which are too big to fit in your browser without scrolling.  All you need to do is press control-down.

Cassie made a super cool video showing how all this works here: http://www.printwhatyoulike.com/pagezipper

PageZipper also seems to have been noticed by the web.  It’s been on the pwyl site since December without hardly catching a glance.  But a few days ago twitter user @steverubel mentioned it, and since then its been spreading like wildfire.  Here are some good write-ups:  cnet webware and Technology Bites I love how the internet works like that.

March 31, 2009 at 7:32 pm 3 comments

Support for Internationalized URLs

PrintWhatYouLike gets a lot of traffic from outside the US, and we found that many users were unable to use PrintWhatYouLike on sites that have international characters in the URL.  For example, Wikipedia has versions of its free encyclopedia in many different languages, and the URLs for the articles include international characters, such as http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Израил.  In addition, some sites have internationalized domain names, such as http://www.hören.at.  We have added support for internationalized URLs, so go print articles from Wikipedia in any language you want!

March 5, 2009 at 12:47 pm Leave a comment

Use Ecofont to beat the ink-jet racket

Ink for inkjets now costs $8000!!!! a gallon. Manufacturers sell you the printers cheap, then overcharge on the ink to make back the money.

But you can beat them and keep your $$$ by being thrifty with ink. PrintWhatYouLike now makes this easier by integrating Ecofont. EcoFont is a really innovative font designed to reduce the amount of ink it takes to print text. It does this by including tiny holes in the characters. If you select Ecofont and then crank up the text size, you can actually see the holes! Just like Swiss Cheese. According to Ecofont’s creators, SPRANQ, it can reduce your ink consumption up to 20%!! Although a quick google search will find lots of people questioning this conclusion. It can’t hurt, and it seems logical that adding whitespace to the letters will reduce your ink usage. So try it out!

You can use Ecofont even if you don’t have it installed on your computer. Go to “Font Type” and select Ecofont. On Safari, IE, Firefox 3.1, and Opera 10 it will just work!  On all other browsers you will have to install Ecofont the old fashioned way.

For legal and technical reasons, Ecofont isn’t available in the bookmarklet 😦

More info on Ecofont: http://www.ecofont.eu/ecofont_en.html

February 25, 2009 at 2:06 am 1 comment

Life’s too short to spend clicking “Next” – Introducing PageZipper

Are you ever frustrated by websites which force you to click “Next” over and over again to get the next page in an article or the next image in an image gallery?  Next links chop up the flow of what you reading, and constantly leave you staring at that hourglass cursor waiting for the next page to load. PageZipper is a bookmarklet which automatically adds all the “Next” pages to the page you are on, so you don’t have to click “Next” and you certainly don’t have to wait for any pages to load.

Try it out: http://www.printwhatyoulike.com/pagezipper

PageZipper automatically finds the Next link on a page- you don’t need to tell it anything. As you scroll to the bottom of a page, it will append the next page to the bottom of the page you’re on. You can also click Control-Down Arrow to skip directly to the top of the next page. On image galleries, Control-Down Arrow will skip you directly to the next image in the gallery.

The original idea for PageZipper came from the brilliant Mr. Paul Davis who is working on a project similar to PrintWhatYouLike at http://github.com/PeeDee/webstrip/ and has a super-cool blog here: www.technologyinvestment.info

Eventually the code behind PageZipper will be integrated into PrintWhatYouLike.  Imagine printing Time’s list of the 50 best websites of 2008. You would have to individually print each one of the 50 web pages!! That would take hours, not to mention waste entire forests worth of paper.  But PrintWhatYouLike will soon have a solution- Instead imagine loading the first page of the list into PrintWhatYouLike.  Use the PrintWhatYouLike tools to remove all the ads and format the page to look just how you want.  Then click an “Extend Series” button. This button will use the PageZipper code to retrieve the other 49 webpages in the best websites list, apply your chages from the first page to each of those pages, and append those pages to your first page. The result will be one document which contains all 50 articles in the ‘best websites’ list, and looks exactly how you want. You could then print this as one print job or save it as one pdf. If you were using the plugin, you could close it and read the entire list all as one page.  That is where PrintWhatYouLike is headed.

December 16, 2008 at 1:59 pm 4 comments

Edit private pages with the new bookmarklet

At long last PrintWhatYouLike has a real bookmarklet! Now you can include the PrintWhatYouLike editor in any page just by clicking the bookmarklet. Here’s how it works:

  1. Install the bookmarklet by going here
  2. When you come upon a page that needs some editing, click the PrintWhatYouLike button in your bookmarks toolbar
  3. The PrintWhatYouLike editor will appear around the page you’re on.  The editor works the same as if you had loaded the url into printwhatyoulike.com, but you will never leave the page you are on
  4. When you are finished making changes, click the PrintWhatYouLike button again, and the editor will disappear. Only your modified page will remain

The bookmarklet has a couple advantages over entering a url into printwhatyoulike.com

  • more convenient – you never leave the site you’re on
  • works on any page, including private/password protected pages like webmail!
  • does not disable javascript

The bookmarklet works on map sites like mapquest and google maps. It does not work on the default view of ajax-heavy email sites like Gmail (Gmail’s iframes wreak havoc on the editor), but it does work on the printer-friendly view.

Since you can now use the bookmarklet on private information, a quick note on privacy is in order: The bookmarklet does not record or distribute any information about you or the page you are viewing. With one exception: If you click “Save as Pdf,” the content of the site you are on is forwarded to a 3rd party service which converts it to a pdf. PrintWhatYouLike does not store any of this data, but I cannot make any guarantees about the 3rd party service. So if you are reading the CIA personnel list or the recipe for Coka-Cola, I would recommend against using ‘Save as Pdf’. Everything else is safe. You can easily verify this by using a tool like livehttpheaders, firebug or wireshark to spy on the bookmarklet.

As always, if you find something which doesn’t work or you have any questions, let me know in the comments.

December 4, 2008 at 12:16 pm 10 comments

The Latest Updates

It has been a looooooong time since I’ve written anything here! Fortunately there is a good reason- I’ve been busy working on new features and fixing lots and lots of bugs. The biggest new feature is the option to save a page to pdf. This turned out to be a lot harder than I expected. After more than a week of teeth gnashing I finally came up with a ridiculously complicated Rube Goldberg method of saving the pdf that involved sending the data back and forth between the server and the browser. It worked, and it dodged all the browser bugs and incompatibilities that make ajax programming so adventurous, but it wasn’t pretty. Then a few days ago I learned a javascript trick using document.write, and in the space of an afternoon rewrote all the ‘save as pdf’ code into something that was simpler, faster, more reliable, and 1/3 as much code. Don’t you hate it when that happens!

Since going live, I’ve also made a lot of other changes, most of which aren’t as visible.

  • PrintWhatYouLike now handles sites with frames intelligently instead of just giving up and returning an error message.
  • The site also handles pages with international characters correctly. I’m not sure how I overlooked that while testing the app before it went live, but lots of people emailed to let me know about it 🙂
  • Pwyl can now handle any type of url, including urls with spaces in them
  • And tons of smaller bug fixes

Now I’m working on a browser plugin that will run the PrintWhatYouLike editor inside your browser. The advantage of this is that you can edit private/password-protected pages like your email (assuming you have webmail). So finally there will an easy way to print emails without those stupid three page legal disclaimers every corporation insists on putting at the bottom of every email!

November 21, 2008 at 6:31 pm 4 comments

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