Marking pages and marginalia (was Re: pages)

Rob (wlkngowl@unix.asb.com)
Sun, 1 Jun 1997 05:14:37 -0500


Message-Id: <199706010921.FAA06336@unix.asb.com>
From: "Rob" <wlkngowl@unix.asb.com>
To: Erik Aronesty <earonesty@montgomery.com>
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 1997 05:14:37 -0500
Subject: Marking pages and marginalia (was Re: pages)
CC: www-html@w3.org

Erik Aronesty <earonesty@montgomery.com> wrote:

> The concept of "pages" and "paged output" is an important one in 
> 	human understanding of readable content.
> Currently HTML is a "scrolling" medium without pages.
[..]

HTML is based on 'logical', not 'physical' markup.  A properly made 
page will be marked in sections (and perhaps cut into multiple files 
for easier digestion).

A table of contents can be built by a browser that supports such a 
feature by indexing the <h1>..</h6> headings, any anchors (name= or 
id= references) and figures, inline images, tables, etc.

> Without a specified page break it is impossible to build formatted
> reports that print well.
> It is also impossible to have a "print to fit" option in a browser.

No, it isn't:

  <link rel=StyleSheet href="print-style.css"  media=printer>

See the www.w3.org pages (exact URL not handy) for info on 
StyleSheets.  Note the issue has more to do with browsers not 
supporting potential features or proposal/actual standards than it 
does with 'possibility'.

Speaking of which: I've thought about the issue of transcribing 
tranditional hardcopy texts to HTML, and the lack of marginal 
notations used to delineate sections.  Take the traditional page 
numbers used to reference sections in texts by Plato or Kant for 
example.

One could insert an anchor like the following:

  I cannot help imagining that you are making your mouth into a flute
  and puffing away at some prelude to Athena.<a name="418a">

But this would not be visible to the reader.  It would be nice to 
have a modifier that tells the user-agent to display the anchor name 
on the left or right-hand margin, something like

  <a name="418a" title="418a" marginalia=right>

Would mark up the paragraph, and near where the anchor occurs show 
the title (or name if unspecified) in the margin specified by a 
marginalia attribute.

One could so achieve this now using tables, but that's messy, a touch 
illogical (physical vs. logical markup) and has the potential to make 
user agents/browsers gag on larger documents.

(Another possibility might be to use a span.marginalia class in Style 
sheets...)

Rob.



 
---
Robert Rothenburg Walking-Owl (wlkngowl@unix.asb.com)
Se habla PGP.
http://www.asb.com/usr/wlkngowl