It suddenly struck me as odd that we haven’t got a html page bundle format ages ago. So what do I mean by that? Well, I was creating this documentation in a text based format (APT). And I was supposed to send this documentation to an outsider of the company. The only way I could send him the documentation, and still preserving the formatting, was by creating a PDF.
But it turned out that this documentation really didn’t fit into the paper format. Tables were cut, images to large, and so on. And what I really wanted was to let the customer read it, not concerning about wether he was going to print it or not. I should also say that the system I used didn’t allow me to adjust the paper format of the PDF.
So I started to think about alternatives. I could zip down the html, css and images. But then the customer would have to unzip it before reading it. And a lot of people wouldn’t understand how to do that. Then I could convert it into a document format not having limitations on the page format. But again the software I used didn’t support anything else but exporting to html and pdf.
What would have really helped me out was if we’ve had a unified way to bundle one or many html files (including resource files like images/css/js/movies) into one compressed file with a predetermined file extension. This would be pretty much the same thing as OpenOffice have done with their document files for years (It’s really just a zip-file). This way my customers email client would know how to handle the file by unpacking it and opening it in the default browser.
This could be really easy to implement:
1) Define an internal structure for the compressed bundle
2) Consider if it would need a meta file defining what to be found inside the bundle.
3) Find a file extension for this bundle format (eg: bwp)
4) Decide what compression format to be used.
And then the hard part:
Getting the different mail clients / browsers / operating systems to implement support for the format. *Gah!*
Please let me know it such a thing already exists, or if there have been any attempt to standardize on a solution concerning this.