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Counters and Cross References (Was: Errors in section 12 (generated content))

From: Ian Hickson <exxieh@bath.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 11 May 1998 19:43:13 +0100
Message-ID: <007d01bd7d0d$cb283a60$cd20268a@hpxu>
To: Bert Bos <Bert.Bos@sophia.inria.fr>
Cc: www-style@w3.org
I said:
>> The comment above 12.5.1 illustrates a major drawback of the counter
>> scheme - what if you do not control all of the stylesheets? Is there a
>> around this? (I can't think of one offhand)
>> The comment in question is:
>>> The 'counter-reset' property follows the cascading
>>> rules. Thus, due to cascading, the following stylesheet:
>>> H1 {counter-reset: section -1}
>>> H1 {counter-reset: imagenum 99}
>>> will only reset 'imagenum'. To reset both counters,
>>> they have to be specified together:
>>> H1 {counter-reset: section -1 imagenum 99}
Bert said:
>That's right, and I don't know a way around it either.

The problem is quite serious actually. If I have understood it, the
following rule:
* { counter-increment: elementcounter; }
can effectively never be used, if other elements use counters (which they
very likely will, take OL for example).

One possible 'solution', which unfortunately involves making an exception
(yes I hate them as much as the next guy), is to say that it is the *name*
of the counter which cascades, not the counter-* properties themselves. A
kludge, but does anyone have a better idea?

>> Will CSS3 offer a way of refering to another elements counter?
>I hope so. This is on my list under the general notion of
>cross-references. They may refer to counters, but also to page numbers
>("see equation 6 on page 23" or "see equation 6 on this page")

Cool. One thing to bear in mind when thinking of the implementation is that
backwards compatiblity is important - we don't want old (or simply non-css)
browsers displaying "see equation  on page " - and it should also be media
independant (no point mentioning pages when using a screen or speech
browser, and slides are irrelevant when talking of the printed page). Oh,
another idea - if using a speech based media, would it be relevant to cross
reference by time-offset? As in, "we will discuss this in the paragraph
which is in twenty seconds".

A pleasure!

Ian Hickson
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Received on Monday, 11 May 1998 14:51:46 UTC

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