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Re: Proposed ::last-line and ::last-letter selectors

From: Del Merritt <del@alum.mit.edu>
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2006 10:00:45 -0400
Message-ID: <44E1D38D.3000404@alum.mit.edu>
To: Orion Adrian <orion.adrian@gmail.com>
Cc: Andrés <adelfino@gmail.com>, www-style@w3.org

Orion Adrian wrote:
>
> On 8/15/06, Andrés <adelfino@gmail.com> wrote:
>> So you want me to think all uses designers which I don't even know
>> will give them?? Please remember hackers, they always find ways I just
>> can't imagine.
>>
>> Simmetry is a the basis of a logical way of working. This is not a
>> crazy thing!, is to select the last (character|line) for the love of
>> god!
>>
>> If one can do something in a given way, it must be possible to do it
>> the opposite way.
>>
>> Anyway, I suppouse I should start a poll or something...
>
> I would argue though that this isn't symmetrical. Left side versus
> right side yes, but not top/bottom. There are no languages that I know
> of that read bottom-up.

If there were, it would become a variant of bidi.  And most likely - 
unless you regularly mixed lang's in the document - the first character 
in the bottom-to-top world would still be byte zero in the containing 
element (div, span, p, etc.).  So in a bottom-up language, it doesn't 
matter.

Oh, and one bottom up "language" is seen in messages painted on roads - 
at least in the U.S.  Consider "STOP AHD".  Currently we don't have an 
"@media road" nor do we allow units of "meters" or "feet".  When I build 
my street-printer (these discussions so often seem to forget printing) I 
suppose I'll have to tackle some of this, eh?

> While I, too, like symmetry I don't think that this is a case of that.
> The first character and first line have no equivalent in bottom line
> and bottom character.

As simply explained in Lie&Bos's CSS 2nd edition, :first-letter and 
:first-line come from old typographic techniques. 

> And if we did a poll I'm fairly positive people would be
> overwhelmingly against the idea.

:first-letter is pretty easy to implement, while :first-line is 
considerably harder (particularly inside nested tables, er, divs, in the 
most general cases).  Similarly, :last-letter should be no harder than 
:first-letter to implement, but :last-line is at least as hard as 
:first-line, if not harder.

Of course, being hard is why we might ask a computer to do it.  But, 
Philip Taylor's suggestion not withstanding, I haven't seen a good use 
for the :last- constructs.  What I've seen that is close is the 
equivalent of nesting bibliographic elements, where only the first line 
is out-dented. 

That still doesn't completely address Andrés's concern.  So consider 
that a builder has a toolbox.  Sometimes nobody makes the tool the 
builder wants.  Does the builder petition for the new tool?  Or does the 
builder do it with a custom tool or technique?  If the result catches 
on, I suspect you'll see more call for the tool.

-Del
Received on Tuesday, 15 August 2006 14:01:00 GMT

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