W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > December 1999

Re: CSS character width unit missing: an oversight, methinks?

From: Nils Klarlund <klarlund@research.att.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 14:30:34 -0500 (EST)
Message-ID: <001501bf45a0$4cfe95a0$b2e3cf87@research.att.com>
To: <www-style@w3.org>
Cc: "klarlund" <klarlund@research.att.com>
Thanks to people who replied to my first posting. Maybe I am in above my
but I would like to offer the following simple suggestion:

  Introduce a parameterized unit called owidth (o for "outer").  It
  has the syntax owidth('T'), where T is any string of characters.  It's
  meaning for an element E is the width of an imagined box containing
  T; the imagined box is typeset in the same context as that of the

I hope this semantics is sound.  This proposal is very flexible and
contains no arbitrary decisions as Bert hinted any canonized unit
would entail ("width of what" for proportional-width fonts).

I could now easily---even with a fixed-width font---typeset
mathematics-kind-of-stuff like

(  A = B or
   C = D )

where the exercise is to get the A to line up with the C, and where I
would like to typeset each line in its own div box (so that if a
line-wrap around occurs, then the display doesn't get too mixed up).

I would write something like

<div style="margin-left: owidth('( ');
            text-indent: -owidth('( ');">( A = B or
<div style="margin-left: owidth('( ');">C=D )</div>

Received on Monday, 13 December 1999 18:28:06 UTC

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