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

Re: list-item alignment in CSS

From: Chris Lilley <Chris.Lilley@sophia.inria.fr>
Date: Thu, 5 Jun 1997 00:34:43 +0200 (MET)
Message-Id: <9706050034.ZM4460@grommit.inria.fr>
To: Todd Fahrner <fahrner@pobox.com>, Chris Lilley <Chris.Lilley@sophia.inria.fr>, David Perrell <davidp@earthlink.net>, www-style <www-style@w3.org>
On Jun 4,  2:06pm, Todd Fahrner wrote:

> My immediate concern is that the people in Mountain View and Redmond
> reach consensus about what the spec means - and quickly, in time for
> implementation in the 4.0 releases.

> I hope the vendors can give some indication of their plans in this
> regard, and of their willingness to negotiate a common solution.

I will se what I can do; in particular, to ascertain the reason for lack of
support of these properties. If it is indeed an ambiguity in the
specification we will of course work with our members to correct it.

> http://www.tiro.com/ shows paragraphs rendered inline, separated in
> the medieval manner with rubrications. In a cramped, scroll-averse
> world where color is often free, such a rendering for running text
> could make a comeback.

I agree.

> The presence of markers to separate the
> "paragraph items" points to the artificiality of the distinction
> between block and list-item display types.

No, not really. In DSSSL-speak CSS has three flow objects - block, inline,
and list-item. More are likely to be added.

There is usually by  default a mapping such that most of those HTML
elements described in the DTD as block elements become block flow
objects; elements described as inline become inline display objects
and LI become list-items which are a special class of block element.

Given the future availability of means to specify small amounts of
generated content before or after an element's flow object, the need for
list item as a special flow object will decrease (or to put it another
way, you can build one yourself).

But the inline pilcrow-separated paragraphs are still inline flow objects,
not list items of any sort. And (given widespread availability of good CSS
implementations) the paragraphs will still be marked up as paragraphs.

> > Actually there has been recent discussion about what happens with a
> > nested list where different list items have left-to-right and right-to-left
> > directionality and then some joker sets the entire enclosing UL to be
> > display: inline.
> I'd say let it look like a train wreck. "Idiot-proof" can't be a
> design requirement: they'll invent better idiots.

I assume you just read that fast, or my flippant tone deceived you.
Telling entire countries that their web pages can look like a train
wreck because ASCII is fine for us is not actually something we can
get away with, as I am sure you realise. I also presume that you didn't
mean to call everyone from any country that uses a different writing
direction an idiot.

Providing the basic ability to lay out a page of simple text is actually
a rather more pressing priority and helps rather more people than figuring
out how to do some arty rearrangement of paragraphs or lists for visual
glitz. However, if possible, we would like to cater for both communities.

> > One thing that seems to be needed for these inline lists is a way to treat
> > the first and perhaps the last list element specially.
> Yes, and to control the whitespace preceding, in addition to
> following, any generated markers.

Preceeding is easy, that's the margin (or the padding, depending on how
you want background colors to work). Following is a little more hard. One
approach is to allow spaces to be added into the :before content (and
since this is not SGML content we can control space collapsing); another
is to consider an element which has generated preceeding content to be a
box within a box and give the inner box (accessible via a pseudo element)
it's own margin and padding. Another option is to consider the inner box
to be the real element and an outer box (with negative margin) to be
where the decoration goes. Still another option is to have a list flow
object, so basically you say that the before (and perhaps after) content
is generated by the parent element (which is actually the model that
HTML uses - you select numbers or bullets by using OL or UL).

Chris Lilley, W3C                          [ http://www.w3.org/ ]
Graphics and Fonts Guy            The World Wide Web Consortium
http://www.w3.org/people/chris/              INRIA,  Projet W3C
chris@w3.org                       2004 Rt des Lucioles / BP 93
+33 (0)4 93 65 79 87       06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France
Received on Wednesday, 4 June 1997 18:34:53 UTC

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