W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > April 2003

Columns and other layouts

From: Ben Godfrey <afternoon@uk2.net>
Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2003 12:38:35 +0100
To: www-style@w3.org
Message-Id: <7310F682-7712-11D7-ABD2-00039317C0C4@uk2.net>

I'm new to this list, sorry if I'm retreading old ground, I searched 
around for answers to my questions but I didn't find anything really 
satisfactory. I don't mean to start an argument, so please forgive me 
if my statements are inaccurate or misinformed or if this is the wrong 
forum to ask these questions.

I'm a webmonkey and, like many of my colleagues, I have been updating 
myself to CSS layout over the past couple of years. My support for the 
CSS activity is unwavering, but I have reservations.

It sometimes seems to me that CSS's focus is in replicating layout 
activities performed in print and traditional documents more than those 
on the web. As an example, consider CSS3's multicol module. I wasn't 
here for the discussions, but I've read the spec. How exactly do I 
achieve the kind of columnar layout used all over the web? ( E.g. 
http://hypothetical.co.uk/home.php) where content is grouped with 
columns rather than flowed. There is, as I understand it, no capability 
to introduce a break in the columnised content that leaves the lower 
portion of a column empty.

So, I have my navigation in the left column, how do I make sure that my 
body copy is in the right column? I can't use CSS-P because I have 
content that sits under the columns and must be automatically 
positioned underneath which ever column is longest. Plus the CSS-P 
approach is counter-intuitive.

My other concern relates to centering. I have a login box, I want it in 
the middle of the browser window. CSS does not address this issue, and 
previous attempts to gain clarity seem to have been brushed off with 
the argument that CSS is a document language not an interface one.

I'm not supposed to use tables anymore, which is great, but now I have 
no grammar to make building interfaces easy and compatible. Meanwhile 
there are thousands of interfaces going up every day and the other 
requirements of my work, like application usability, demand that I 
continue on this path.

I have outlined two issues, but what worries me is that the approach 
angle is not quite right. How does the CSS group answer the accusation 
that the specifications they are producing do not enable people like me 
to quickly and easily construct the layouts actually used on a large 
percentage of web sites?

To quantify my accusation somewhat, I would like to say that I think 
that the vast majority of the CSS specifications are of immense value 
to the web community. I just think that the intent of the project needs 
to be slightly altered.

Ben Godfrey

(q)	Ben Godfrey?
(a)	Web Developer and Designer
	See http://aftnn.org/ for details
Received on Friday, 25 April 2003 07:38:46 UTC

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