W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > April 2004

Re: Controling structure with CSS

From: Adam Kuehn <akuehn@nc.rr.com>
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 2004 17:05:30 -0400
Message-Id: <p06010201bca7463cc639@[]>
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Cc: Tantek Çelik <tantek@cs.stanford.edu>, David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>, www-style@w3.org

Ian Hickson wrote:
>The question of whether it makes sense to reorder the document on output
>is an important one, but to me the answer is clearly "yes".

Why?  Or more particularly, why in CSS and not in some other place 
more designed to manipulate structure?  I thought one of Tantek's 
points was that this isn't really just a question of CSS or not, but 
a question that can have multiple levels of answer.  As you yourself 

>  I mean, it's
>already possible to a limited extent:

Exactly.  But it strikes me that going very far beyond this limited 
"reshuffling" of source order goes beyond mere presentation, and more 
importantly starts getting beyond the point of being relatively 
straightforward to use and understand.

>The 'flow-offset' idea, as proposed at the head of this thread, which just
>moves the element up or down its siblings by a few, could work, but then
>you lose a whole class of problems, e.g.:
>    <root>
>     <foo/>
>     <bar/>
>     <container>
>      <baz/>
>      <quux/>
>     </container>
>    </root>
>...where you want the rendering to be ordered foo, quux, bar, baz.

But if that's the order you want rendered, why is there an 
intervening container?  Aren't you better served at that point by 
re-thinking the actual document structure?  At what point do we 
really cross the line into issues that CSS isn't *really* designed 
for?  The only way to make the language decently easy to use is to 
limit its scope, at least somewhat.  The entire generated and 
replaced content module is already exceedingly complex, and I think 
will likely be the source of considerable confusion and most likely 
abuse, as well.

At some point, it seems to me, you have to say: "To change the source 
order, authors should change the order of the source."  A document 
generally does not and should not have the same structure if it is 
read backwards.  Granted, you need some variations to be possible - 
some middle ground - but it seems to me the draft proposals are 
already at the point where they are unnecessarily complicated.  It 
would be desirable for non-programmers to be able to read and use 
this stuff.

That's my take, at any rate.


-Adam Kuehn
Received on Saturday, 17 April 2004 17:05:42 UTC

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