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

Re: list-item alignment in CSS

From: Todd Fahrner <fahrner@pobox.com>
Date: Wed, 4 Jun 1997 17:25:09 -0700
Message-Id: <v03102807afbba1eb4e90@[206.245.203.103]>
To: Chris Lilley <Chris.Lilley@sophia.inria.fr>, David Perrell <davidp@earthlink.net>, www-style <www-style@w3.org>
At 0:34 +0200 6.5.97, Chris Lilley wrote:
> On Jun 4,  2:06pm, Todd Fahrner wrote:

> > 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.

An aside: personally I have found the recent infusion of DSSSL-speak
very helpful, particularly the "flow-object" concept. But as for
flow-objects being added to CSS - do you mean as part of a
"declarative subset" of DSSSL, or a new level of ambition for CSS?

> 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.

A cursory scan of some graphic arts history texts suggests the
strongest morphological connections between the pilcrow as paragraph
separator and the bullet or other fleuron as list-item separator.
There's a line of descent from inline paragraph markers (pilcrows),
to on-the-margin markers (including empty- and filled-indent
treatments), to in-the-margin markers (including hanging indents, and
fleurons such as bullets). Consider religious texts whose
"paragraphs" are rendered typically much like <OL> list items -
numbered verses. So I posit that the distinction between lists and
other sorts of item-blocks (like paragraphs) is one of habit and
history - nothing more semantically essential.

> > 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.

You presume correctly - some of my best friends are idoi - er, write
backwar - er, are ambidextrous! :^)  If you endeavor to accommodate
bi-directional horizontal and vertical flow on the canvas
simultaneously, with collision avoidance and "reader-author-machine
balance", I don't envy you. Especially not if you're starting with
CSS. That was the context of my remark.

> 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 person's glitz is another's legibility. Control is control.


________________________________________
Todd Fahrner
mailto:fahrner@pobox.com
http://www.verso.com/

The printed page transcends space and time. The printed page, the
infinitude of books, must be transcended. THE ELECTRO-LIBRARY.

--El Lissitzky, 1923
Received on Wednesday, 4 June 1997 20:15:39 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Monday, 27 April 2009 13:53:50 GMT