W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > December 2007

Re: flowing around both sides of a float

From: James Elmore <James.Elmore@cox.net>
Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2007 14:13:46 -0800
Message-Id: <C663A66E-2F96-44B4-A683-13F6E47E0A66@cox.net>
To: Brad Kemper <brkemper@comcast.net>, CSS <www-style@w3.org>

On Dec 31, 2007, at 12:57 PM, Brad Kemper wrote:

>
> On Dec 31, 2007, at 10:29 AM, Ambrose Li wrote:
>
>>> I did say I'd write more about reading difficulty.  I mainly just
>>> wanted to cite a typography book that recommends against it.  I  
>>> don't
>>> have the book handy to check, but I believe that the book in  
>>> question is
>>>    author={James Felici},
>>>    title={The Complete Manual of Typography},
>>>    year=2003,
>>>    publisher={Peach Pit Press},
>>>    address={Berkeley, CA}
>>
>> As in my involvement with Wikipedia, I am very much against this.
>> Especially in the case of Chinese (but including English), there is
>> much typographic knowledge that, apparently, has NEVER been
>> published in any book. Having to cite a reference for such things
>> is the wrong approach IMHO, it just gives a false sense of authority.
>> -- 
>> cheers,
>> -ambrose
>
> I whole-heartedly agree, and would go further: It should not be the  
> purpose of this group to restrict CSS to what one or the other of  
> us consider to be "good design". Some of the Western world's most  
> cherished artists are the ones that broke free from the traditional  
> and came up with visuals that were different from what people were  
> used to. Not everyone has to like their art for it to have value.  
> This has happened in various design movements as well, and is  
> almost certain to happen again.
>
> "float:center"  would not just be for pull quotes, but for images  
> and who knows what else? I might want a narrow headline block  
> centered on the page that pokes down into the body text. Maybe  
> someone will want to put a big button in the middle of a block   
> with the text flowing around it. It is not for us to say that it is  
> ugly and therefore we cannot allow it. Maybe someone will come up  
> with a great use for it that we have not imagined; it happens all  
> the time.
>
> If we have a well understood float model that allows values of  
> right and left, then of course it would be desirable to allow a  
> value of center as well. Maybe the implementors didn't have time to  
> include it or to sort out the implementation details of it  
> previously, but now it just seems like an obvious omission.
>

Why limit this to 'left', right', and 'center'? Why not allow other  
position controls. in relation not only to the current line of text,  
but also to the current block? I listed a few desirable possibilities  
in an earlier email to the style group. I copy some of that email here.

I would like to be able to have more options for 'float' than just  
'left' and 'right'.

I would like floats to span multiple columns, or the corners of four  
adjacent boxes.

I would like to be able to position floats in the middle of blocks  
and have text flow around them.

I would like to be able to move the float up or down, rather than  
limiting it to the starting height of the line of text where the  
float was declared. That way, I could guarantee that there would be  
exactly one line of text (or two, or ...) before the float starts.

I would like the float to be related to the enclosing block, rather  
than the text blocks where it is declared.

Even with the foreseeable problems, I would like (under some  
circumstances) to float a block (especially a menu) in relation to  
the viewport, where it would always be available. (Yes, this can be  
done with with 'position: fixed;' but objects underneath will be  
hidden, not moved out of the way. Either that or large areas of the  
page need to be left empty so nothing important is covered.)


As another, related, topic, why use 'left' and 'right'? Using 'start'  
and 'end' would be clearer for floats in typography which does not  
fill left-to-right or right-to-left.

<rant>
I have been arguing for a more complete set of abilities in CSS for  
months, including expanding the use of 'float's. How can we as a  
group say some effect or control would not be useful in the future?  
Of course, some of the proposals will be difficult to implement.  
Also, some will not be immediately used, simply because they are not  
known to be available. But providing tools which make CSS a more  
complete system of styling documents will make CSS a more useful tool  
set.

Don't argue that no one uses a proposed feature -- no one can until  
it is documented and implemented. Don't argue that the proposer only  
wants 'pixel level control'. Perhaps the proposer does need that  
level of control or maybe there is some other need which the proposal  
might meet. Don't ask for use cases and then say, 'no one does it  
that way.' -- Of course no one does.

If some proposal is impossible to implement, that is a valid  
argument. If a proposal is extremely different from the rest of CSS  
or if it clashes with some other CSS rules or features, that is a  
valid argument. Saying 'no one needs it' or 'only works on printed  
pages' or 'will look ugly on some screens' or 'won't fit in 640x480'  
only limits your thinking and slows down the process.
</rant>

Sorry about the rant, but I hear the same arguments every time a new  
(or even an old) feature is proposed and it gets to me. Didn't anyone  
learn about logic and creative thinking in school?

James Elmore
Received on Monday, 31 December 2007 22:14:06 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Monday, 27 April 2009 13:54:57 GMT