W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > October 1996

column flow (was floating images...)

From: David Perrell <davidp@earthlink.net>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 1996 08:15:25 -0800
Message-Id: <199610311625.IAA19777@germany.it.earthlink.net>
To: <lee@sq.com>, <www-style@w3.org>
lee wrote:
> OK, I get the idea, no need to go through all of HTML :-)

I was going to stop at "_HTML_ into columns".

> In CSS you can do this to some extent by drawing boxes round things.

I didn't understand this.

> It's actually more general to give each column an internal left
> and right margin, but no matter.

Much as I detest "gutter" in this context, I've already had my say on
that. Be it gutter or colspace, only one measurement applies if columns
are settable for a single element. In order to do internal left and
right margins you need to think of columns as separate elements. Your
idea to treat BODY as table and other elements as cells fits the bill
to some extent, but lacks flow.

> Blackbird let you divide your paragraph into columns, but
> only down to the bottom of the screen, where there was a Next Screen
> button -- and then the two columns begin again.
> This is much more readable.

Agreed. But isn't this really a browser issue? Why should the UA always
consider a web document as an endless length of paper? A UA could
render a page to the bottom of the window, flowing columns as you
suggest. This could be a settable mode of operation, with next and
previous buttons navigating through as many "pages" as the document
requires. This behavior would not require special treatment of columns
by an author, outside of specifying column properties on elements. This
is the way a word processor works. Change the page size and columnar
text and graphics then flow on a page by page basis. I don't understand
why we have to deal with frames and flows and other properties to get a
simple columnar text flow that practically any word processor can
handle. The UA has to implement the functionality in any case, why put
so much burden on an author?

> The Netscpae approach is like a book in two columns, where
> you read the left column in the entire book, and then go back
> and read the right-hand column...

Well, not entirely. Even without a more intelligent browser, the column
property would be very useful for small type. Small type requires
narrow columns for legibility. The column property would allow a
designer to judge whether a multi-column paragraph or division would
fit in a worse-case window size.

David
Received on Thursday, 31 October 1996 11:50:12 GMT

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