Designing a book or a print-ready PDF requires that you think by pages. This is the major difference between formatting for the web and for PDF/Print. In a browser, we are able to implement a fixed height block with overflowing/scrollable content or automatic height block based on content. But for print/PDF, we need to be able to create pages of HTML content i.e. we need to be able to fractionate the content.
Unfolding the @page
Let’s say you need to make a poster and you need to give to the client the possibility to change a few things on this poster, like the date, or even the title. HTML can be the right way to go: it works in all browsers, it does not need any particular applications to be installed, fonts and colours are already set up by a professional designer, and the pdf will be ready for print without any problems.
CaSSius: heavyweight typesetting with lightweight technology
I can’t remember when Adam Hyde first suggested to me that CSS regions might be a viable way to produce PDFs for scholarly communications but it seemed like a good idea at that time and, I think, it still does. CaSSius is my implementation of that idea.
To back up a bit, at the moment in scholarly communications, the production stage usually involves creating a PDF and XML copy in tandem, perhaps using a tool like eXtyles and a process involving Adobe InDesign.