W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > April 1997

Re: CSS multi-column layout (was Re: From CSS to DSSSL)

From: Liam Quinn <liam@htmlhelp.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 1997 00:37:20 -0500
Message-Id: <199704180436.AAA13077@watserv3.uwaterloo.ca>
To: www-style@w3.org
On 17 Apr 97 at 18:21, Daniel Hale wrote:

> Liam Quinn wrote:
> >> (if only css
> >> could accommodate multi-column layout....)
> >
> >What about the following, using CSS Positioning:
> >
> >div.col1 { position: absolute; left: 1%; width: 31% }
> >div.col2 { position: absolute; left: 35%; width: 48% }
> >div.col3 { position: absolute; left: 70% }
> >
> >and then
> >
> ><DIV CLASS=col1>
> ><!-- Column 1 -->
> ></DIV>
> ><DIV CLASS=col2>
> ><!-- Column 2 -->
> ></DIV>
> ><DIV CLASS=col3>
> ><!-- Column 3 -->
> ></DIV>
> >
> >Or is that not what you meant?
> As I see it, the problem with this method is that each column is still 
> hand-coded. You need to know the UA's window size before you know how 
> much text to pour into those columns, or else you run the risk of making 
> columns of text too tall for the window.

Yeah, I never said it was a good idea :)  I don't see much use in 
columnar layout as long as the author must decide how many columns 
to use.  As an author, I'd like to suggest the use of columns, but I 
just don't know enough about the window or font size to be able to 
suggest how many columns.

I liked HTML 3.0's WRAP attribute on ULs [1].  It was simple, and 
left most of the decisions in the hands of the browser, where they 
belong in the case of columnar layout, IMO.  How about a 'wrap' 
property for CSS?

Value: vertical | horizontal | none
Initial: none
Applies to: all elements
Inherited: yes
Percentage values: N/A

I suppose you could also extend it to allow the suggestion of the 
number of columns:

Value: <number>? [ vertical | horizontal | none ]

> Are we back to the semi-standard 
> (as Iearned it) 600x330px live area?

Yuck.  I hope not.
> I suspect that true column-ing requires a certain amount of intelligence 
> on the part of the UA, which would expand and contract the columns to fit 
> the text. But what happens with a tiny screen?

Someone using a tiny screen would hopefully override columnar layout, 
and probably most CSS Positioning properties.  However, with my 
proposed 'wrap' property, the tiny screen's UA would simply "wrap" 
the contents into a single column if more than one column would not 
fit suitably.

[1] http://www.w3.org/pub/WWW/MarkUp/html3/bulletlists.html

Liam Quinn
===============  http://www.htmlhelp.com/%7Eliam/  ===============
Web Design Group            Enhanced Designs, Web Site Development
http://www.htmlhelp.com/    http://enhanced-designs.com/
Received on Friday, 18 April 1997 00:36:24 UTC

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