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RE: My #1 request for CSS3

From: Braden N. McDaniel <braden@shadow.net>
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 1999 17:50:43 -0500
To: "George Olsen" <golsen@2lm.com>, "W3C Style Sheets Mailing List" <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <003801be53b5$753339f0$01000080@bonezero>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: www-style-request@w3.org [mailto:www-style-request@w3.org]On
> Behalf Of George Olsen
> Sent: Monday, February 08, 1999 5:10 PM
> To: W3C Style Sheets Mailing List
> Subject: Re: My #1 request for CSS3
>
>
> Not to change the subject too much, but I'd love to see the equivalent of
> NS's defunct <MULTICOL> tag implemented, which would allow you to divide
> text (on-the-fly) into x number of columns.

Hmm... I dunno about "equivalent"...

> Since I haven't had time to read through all of the CSS-2 spec
> (just trying
> to get CSS-1 implemented....), if this has already been done, thanks.

To my knowledge, it is not.

> Automatic multi-column text flow would go a long way toward enabling
> "fluid" design, since it overcomes one of the major problems of multiple
> screen resolutions -- if the screen gets too wide, legibility becomes
> significantly impaired.
>
> The traditional solution in print is to increase leading (and possibly
> point size), but this only works so far. And a 1024x768 screen is
> significantly wider than almost any single-column format publication I've
> ever seen -- and those few I can think of contain only minimal text.

The traditional print media have a constraint that makes this a lot more
workable: the page has a very definition notion of a "bottom". The Web page
has no such notion. As such, users may very likely find themselves not only
having to scroll down the page to read the text, but to scroll *back to the
top* to start reading the next column! The annoyance this produces obviously
increases markedly with each additional column.

> Ideally, the number of columns would also be scriptable (and/or changable
> via a master style sheet), so that you could make adjustment for various
> types of screens. For example, a PDA screen would require a single column
> most likely, while desktop screen would require 2-4 columns, depending on
> resolution, while a TV-based screen probably would only use a single
> column, in part because of the larger type size required to be readable on
> a TV screen.

Why script this? These are important enough requirements (for screen media,
at least), that they should be part of the specification of such a feature.

Here are some ideas...

 1. The column width should only be specifiable as a minimum number of
ems-per-column. A new column would only be created if the browser could do
so and have all columns remain above this threshold.

 2. The the column height can be no higher than the height of the browser
window. If this is incompatible with rule 1, then only a single column will
be rendered.

Braden
Received on Monday, 8 February 1999 17:50:39 GMT

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