Lyle: re: “While many of these options aren’t ‘simple’ for the masses, they are much, much simpler than the approach outlined in the article.”
I get the sense from your comment (and other people’s comments) that this may not have been clear enough in the article: this was never intended to be a method for “the masses”/end-users printing, it is aimed directly at web developers. These web developers most likely have Firefox installed and already have a working knowledge of CSS - enough to make this technique work. After all, we are users too, and why shouldn’t we use the tools we have to make our end-user experience better?
re: “Why in the world would someone want to go to all this trouble just to print a web page “better”?”
The first time I tried to do this, it was because an article I wanted to print was 7 pages long, mostly filled with items that were irrelevant to the article - images, ads, site navigation, and other related items. There wasn’t a print friendly version, so I ended up taking it into my own hands and used the tools I had at my disposal. When I was done, I had an article that printed in two pages and only contained what I wanted on it. That’s why I started doing it elsewhere as well…
re: “Even the most technically advanced web developers wouldn’t want to use this approach on a regular basis”
Agreed. The first time I used this technique, it took me about 20 minutes to get the article I wanted to print into a form with which I was happy. Any that I have done recently have taken less than 5 minutes, and I save them for later so that I don’t have to use the approach on a regular basis.
Now, if I had claimed that this was a way to bring better print versions to the all end users, well then, yes, I would have been kidding… ;)