W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > October 1999

sigh, emulating tab behaviour ?

From: Caolan McNamara <Caolan.McNamara@ul.ie>
Date: Fri, 01 Oct 1999 14:28:59 +0100 (IST)
Message-ID: <XFMail.991001150559.Caolan.McNamara@ul.ie>
To: www-html@w3.org
I am trying to write a utility to convert a word processor format
to html, and everything works pretty well. With stylesheets and
html4 so on I can get quite nice results, but there is one outstanding 

Bloody tabs, in an ideal world noone would use a tab :-).

Initial tabs at the beginning of a paragraph are just text-indent,
no problem. The killer is getting columns of text to align correctly, 
I cant think of any viable way of scanning the text to see if the tabs in
question are an attempt to line up elements and in that case 
automatically create a table for them, for conversion purposes I
really need a way to insist that a particular element starts at a
a fixed position horizontally across the browser.

Now I thought that position: relative  would solve my problems, but
no, the element is set relative to its natural location, so columns
created with tab still will not align. 

Using position: absolute will take the text out of the text flow, so
thats just a huge bag of worms, the rest of the text will not be
aware of the absolutely positionde text and the flow will be all wrong, 
so that appears to have to go out the window.

If i was just writing html, there would be no problem at all, I could
just stick in tables, but when I'm trying to convert wordprocessor
files that contains tabs, and which depend on the ability to align
text with them so as to make sense, then im stuck.

Im far from experienced in stylesheets, so is there any mechanism that
could sort this out, its a little amusing that i can arbitrarilly place
elements all over the page, but that I cant figure out how to align a
few columns, without make a digs dinner of the whole lot, anyone have any
good ideas ?


Real Life: Caolan McNamara           *  Doing: MSc in HCI
Work: Caolan.McNamara@ul.ie          *  Phone: +353-86-8790257
URL: http://www.csn.ul.ie/~caolan    *  Sig: an oblique strategy
Look at the order in which you do things
Received on Friday, 1 October 1999 10:17:28 UTC

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