HTML: Not Always the Answer

As a developer of web-based applications, I have come to regards (X)HTML as my standard interface language. There are times, however, when (X)HTML is not the answer to a particular problem. I have been trying to use an XHTML+CSS solution to draw up a dog pedigree. Sounds simple, but it isn't, when I am trying to specify all the CSS in relative units. (Vertical centring of a div, for instance, gave me some problems.)

What I am trying to produce is something to be printed, not something for the web; why, I asked myself, am I using HTML? Because I'm familiar with it. Lazy. So, what do we use to describe a printed page? Well, PostScript, of course. I'm quite familiar with seeing PostScript – it's that gobbledigook that comes in reams out of my printer when I set the driver to PostScript rather than PDL (LaserJet).

Unbeknown to me, PostScript is actually a lot simpler than I had been led to believe. A quick Google found me this PDF document, “Learning PostScript by Doing”. So far, I have drawn a square and a triangle – the pedigree is on its way.