Printing of HTML documents has been problematic in the past because of
the static, paged nature of the printed page disagrees fundamentally
with continuous paged media (eg: screen rendering.) Continuous media
allows for fixed widths and heights, but if content extends beyond these
values, the dimensions of the document can be infinite. Scrollbars or other
devices allow an application to provide a 'window' to the actual
content that can be dynamically changed through interaction with the user.
Contrast this with media using static dimensions, such as printing to
paper. In this environment there is some allowance for extending beyond
a fixed width/height, but basically the dimensions are fixed and unmovable.
Document content is divided into chunks for display in discrete pieces
on separate pages.
The paradigms for transferring content from continuous media to paged media
are already well established from the word processing field, and CSS2 borrows
heavily from these concepts to create new printing properties. These properties
allow the type and dimensions to be set (among other things) for a 'page box' -
a rectangular area in which document content is rendered on a static page.
These properties have been included in CSS2, but were first included in the W3C
Working Draft "CSS Printing Extensions"
by Robert Stevahn, Stephen Waters, et al, June 26, 1997)
Official Reference: CSS Level 2, Section 13.2, 13.3