Page Description Language - PDL

A device-independent, high-level language for commanding a printer to print text and graphics on a page. The two major languages are Adobe's PostScript and HP's PCL.

Much of the character and graphics shaping is done within the printer rather than in the user's computer. Instead of downloading an entire font from the computer to the printer, which includes the design of each character, a command to build a particular font is typically sent, and the printer creates the characters from font outlines. Likewise, a command to draw a circle is sent to the printer rather than sending the actual bits of the circle image. However, bitmaps can also be used when necessary.

A page description language is a language that describes the contents of a printed page in a higher level than an actual output bitmap. Some page description languages are not complete enough to be considered a programming language, however, PostScript, one of the most noted page description languages, is a fully fledged programming language.

Page Description Language Examples:

DVI (stands for DeVice Independent)
PCL (Printer Control Language)
PDF (Portable Document Format)
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See also: PCL, MIF, TXT.

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