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

Re: Stylings only possible with Tables

From: Daniel Beardsmore <public@telcontar.net>
Date: Sat, 23 Jun 2007 00:35:17 +0100
Message-ID: <467C5CB5.8080001@telcontar.net>
To: www-style@w3.org

Yes, there are a few of us here who would find these very useful. The 
question would appear to be not just trying to convince everyone else, but 
get to the point  where people even understand us! I find CSS's layout 
mechanisms to be lacking the degree of pragmatism needed for real-world work.

>  1. Allow a CAPTION for block elements.

Definitely!

>  4. Allow designers to constrain the height/width of sets of blocks ...

This was the subject I introduced here some months back and was not well 
understood. The only solution I've seen (that someone showed me) was still a 
horrible hack. Combined with what you wrote in 5, this would be fantastic.

>  5. Design new display-models to assist (simplify) layout of web pages.
>  Currently, designers must place elements in a flow, a table, or stack (blocks)
>  vertically. I would like to open discussion with ...

Have you read up on the CSS3 Advanced Layout module?

  http://www.w3.org/TR/css3-layout/

They have some interesting ideas for page layout, although I still prefer 
the ideas I devised before reading about that. Instead of trying to design a 
whole layout with letters in a string, I'd simply divide up the page like a 
frameset. I would also permit multiple elements to be slotted into page 
frames in sequence.

For example, if the page were split vertically into two frames, "sidebar" 
and "main", you could write:

  #menu { slot: "sidebar" }
  #content { slot: "main" }
  #seealso { slot: "sidebar" }

  <div id="menu"> <!-- menu goes here -->
  <div id="content"> <!-- main content goes here -->
  <div id="sidebar"> <!-- see-also links go here -->

Each new div assigned to a frame slot would come after the previous one or 
obey slot-position: replace-all | top | bottom. Top/bottom would allow, for 
example, the sidebar to contain first the main navigation menu (#menu) then 
the see-also links (#seealso) but have the divs in a separate order, e.g.

  #menu { slot: "sidebar"; slot-position: top }
  #content { slot: "main" }
  #seealso { slot: "sidebar" }

  <div id="content"> <!-- main content goes here -->
  <div id="sidebar"> <!-- see-also links go here -->
  <div id="menu"> <!-- menu given at end of page but appears above see-also
                       -->

This makes me curious, thus, how much layout you feel could be replaced by 
the Advanced Layout mechanism or my framed slot layout, and how much cannot. 
I would imagine that there are separate mechanisms needed.

Tabbing is awkward because although the basic layout is easy (e.g. a slot 
where you only see one assigned div at once) you still need a tab bar, 
which, like list markers, are in effect generated elements that are not 
present in the HTML and require interesting considerations as well as the 
ability to be effectively decorated.

>  I'm waiting for the screams -- "We've never done it that way before!" I have
>  more thoughts about use cases, standards, and implementation, if any of the
>  above interest anybody.

I really, really hope this gets taken seriously. The Advanced Layout Module 
has not been altered since December 2005 (a year and a half ago) yet is full 
of unanswered questions and comments for the reader. It seems to be 
abandoned, yet, I deeply believe that such "advanced" (i.e. simple) layout 
is *THE* weakest area of CSS and the one in greatest need of resolving. 
Battling with floats to force CSS to give us what are conceptually very 
trivial 2D layout concepts (side columns, horizontally-ordered lists, fluid 
grids etc) is a very desperate sign.
Received on Friday, 22 June 2007 23:38:30 GMT

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