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Re: Header, Footer, and Sidebars

From: David Norris <kg9ae@geocities.com>
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 1997 23:04:32 -0500
To: "'W3C Style List'" <www-style@w3.org>, "Steve Knoblock" <knoblock@worldnet.att.net>
Message-ID: <01bcfae9$90bd99c0$3c009696@kg9ae.dyn.ml.org>
    Well, I am glad we all disagree on something.  Just for the record.  I
agree that Andrew's example is excellent and a perfect example of using
absolute positioning for docking text.  I agree that my initial message
suggesting a dockable block tag was probably not a grand idea, however,
headers and footers do have a special meaning that could be reflected in
HTML.  Perhaps my navigation example was confusing, however, it is a common
use of the space with current means.  The block element I was referring to
was not a new element, as it was an existing element such as DIV or H1.
    For future reference, I am well aware that HTML is not a presentation
language.  Unless I missed something big, CSS is a presentation language.  I
am very aware that HTML is designed to abstract data from presentation.  I
have been preaching this for over a year to would-be web authors.  It would
be impossible for most or all authors in this list to ignorantly destroy a
page, enough said.  Visual authoring tools are deficient and will always be
such.  Visual tools narrow the author's perception when dealing with an
abstract idea.  We will, of course, live with that problem for a long time.
Visual tools popularly led to <em> meaning italic and <strong> meaning bold,
rather than the intended meanings.

On with the discussion:

I believe that my original question was answered.  Thank you all.  On with
the bigger picture.

Thank you Steve Knoblock for summarizing my rambling into a cohesive set of
thoughts.  You have my idea in sight.  Perhaps my ideas have appeared here
before.  I am relatively new to the lists.  My thoughts are not unique, I
have seen various articles on this same issue.  One article that comes to
mind is 'Why frames suck most of the time ', written by Jakob Nielsen.

I have two related ideas.

1.  Most important.  Rid ourselves of frames in favor of a CSS property that
would perform a similar function, only better.  Better because it gracefully
degrades with no effort or thought.  (Again, I know that absolute
positioning will do this.)  Better because navigation is not broken or
confused.  Frames don't work well most of the time.  Frames were a decent
interim solution.  We are emerging from the dark ages and need to fix the
errors of the past.

2.  In my thinking.  A CSS property that creates a sidebar, head, or foot
piece of text, exactly like a frame, would be better than simply telling it
to position this block over there.  (I am not arguing that absolute
positioning be thrown out, it is great in its own right.)  It would be
infinitely better than frames.  It would, at the very least, be more
meaningful to human authors.  A simple, frame-like property with a height,
width, and alignment would be ideal.  Yes, this may be accomplished with
absolute positioning, but, it may be better implemented with a property of
its own.

Someone please tell me why this is not a good idea.  Maybe you are right and
I am wasting time writing about it.  I am a very reasonable person when
reasonably approached.

,David Norris
World Wide Web - http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Lab/1652/
My Home's Web - http://kg9ae.dyn.ml.org/
ICQ Universal Internet Number - 412039
E-Mail - kg9ae@geocities.com
-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Knoblock <knoblock@worldnet.att.net>
To: 'W3C Style List' <www-style@w3.org>; 'W3C HTML List' <www-html@w3.org>
Date: Wednesday, November 26, 1997 11:50 AM
Subject: Re: Header, Footer, and Sidebars
Received on Wednesday, 26 November 1997 23:04:52 GMT

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