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Re: newspaper-style columns

From: John T. Whelan <whelan@physics.utah.edu>
Date: Sat, 22 Aug 1998 15:14:19 -0600
Message-Id: <199808222114.PAA39576@einstein.physics.utah.edu>
To: www-style@w3.org
Cc: d.cary@ieee.org
	The following suggestion for adding a new presentational
element to HTML was posted to www-html.  What's the status of CSS for
providing this sort of column layout?

					John T. Whelan
					whelan@iname.com
					http://www.slack.net/~whelan/

> Let me see if I can explain what I would like a "newspaper columns" tag to do.
> 
> <html>
> <h1 align="center">
> Marsbase Alpha Gazette
> </h1>
> <newspaper_columns width=300>
>   <h2>First baby born on Mars</h2>
>   <p>Blah, blah, blah
> ...
>   <p>Blah, blah, blah
> 
>   <h2>Dome 2 under construction</h2>
>   <img src="artistic_sketch.png" alt="" align="right">
>   <p>Blah, blah, blah
> ...
>   <img src="blueprints.web" alt="" align="left">
>   <p>Blah, blah, blah
> ...
> </newspaper_columns>
> <h1>Classified Ads</h1>
> <newspaper_columns width=200>
>   <p>jetpack for sale. Hardly used....
>   <hr>
>   <p>Opening for a pilot. Must have 6 months experience on Mars.
> ...
>   <hr>
> </newspaper_columns>
> </html>
> 
> which might render as
> 
>  |              Marsbase Alpha Gazette               |^
>  |First baby born | her name is    | Dome 2 under   | |
>  |on Mars         | is ...         | construction   | |
>  | blah ...       |                |  blah .        | height of user screen
>  |                |                |                | |
>  |                |                |                | V
>  +----------------+----------------+----------------+ -
>  | the dome is    |                |                |
>  | scheduled to be|                |                |
>  | completed by ..|                |                |
>  |...             |                |                |
>                 ->|                |<- 300 pixels
> ...
>  |                  Classified Ads                   |
>  | jetpack    |            |            |            |
>  | ...        |            | ---------- |            |
>  | ---------- |            |            |            |
>  | opening    | ---------- |            |            |
>             ->|            |<- 200 pixels
> 
> 
> Of course I cannot predict or control the geometry of the user's browser
> window. That is the whole point of this "newspaper" tag. If I knew exactly
> that geometry, I could do this with a <table></table>.
> 
> If the user resizes his window to less than 2* the specified width, then
> the UA renders the newspaper_columns text into a single column, exactly
> like the single column one sees at
>   http://www.builder.com/
>   http://www.zdnet.com/
>   http://www.cnet.com/
>   http://msnbc.com/
> 
> If the user resizes his window to 2* the specified width or more, then the
> UA would render the text into multiple columns on his screen, similar to
> using a table. (The wider the screen, the more columns would render).
> 
> Unlike a table, however, each column would never be longer than the height
> of the user's screen. (If the user made the window-height shorter, then the
> text would reflow -- some words that were at the bottom of the 1st column
> now move to the top of the 2nd column, etc.). If one wants to read the
> entire story, one just reads each line of text left-to-right (in English),
> then each column of text top-to-bottom, then jump to the next column to the
> right ... really long stories would require him to scroll down to the next
> "page" and start over at the 1st column. But one never needs to scroll down
> to read a story, then scroll back up to the top to read the next column of
> the story, the way one needs to now if one tries to implement this with
> tables but the user has a shorter window than the designer used.

 [...]

> + David Cary "mailto:d.cary@ieee.org" "http://www.ionet.net/~caryd_osu/david"
> | Future Tech, Unknowns, PCMCIA, digital hologram, <*> O-
Received on Saturday, 22 August 1998 17:13:58 GMT

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