W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > January 2008

Re: flowing around both sides of a float

From: David Woolley <forums@david-woolley.me.uk>
Date: Wed, 02 Jan 2008 22:17:29 +0000
Message-ID: <477C0D79.6040001@david-woolley.me.uk>
To: CSS <www-style@w3.org>

James Elmore wrote:
> Different people want different things from HTML and CSS. Some want the 
> pages to look beautiful, according to their vision of beauty. This may 
> not mean the same thing to Brad as it does to Philip. That is why HTML 
> and CSS provide for different levels of control. People who "don't 

As a fundamental part of the design of CSS, it always allows the 
consumer to have the last say, so the designer never has access to the 
full spectrum of control.  The handling of !important was modified to 
ensure that this is the case.

> actually care" can use straight HTML. People who do care, can use CSS 
> with HTML. People who have to be in complete control can use a page 
> description language, or even capture the 'perfect' with a gif or other

Exactly.  PDF was designed to preserve the exact appearance of marketing 
documents, so would be the obvious choice where the designer considers 
their design requires fixed visual relationships and that is more 
important than the consumer's ability to choose.  SVG will also do this, 
although PDF has better accessibility support (it allows an HTML overlay 
structure to be defined, if you use tagged PDF properly).

CSS was basically designed to allow people to write correctly structured 
HTML and still have a reasonable amount of creative control over 
appearance, whereas PDF was designed with exact reproduction as a 
primary aim.  HTML was invented as a lowest common denominator that 
would allow information to be displayed on any conceivable terminal; it 
was a contemporary alternative to desk top publishing, not a predecessor 
of it.

> image file.
> Why are we arguing about the 'ideal' page design? I want to improve CSS 
> so I can make my web pages more closely match my ideals, and recognize 

I sometimes suspect that what people are really after is a free desktop 
publishing package.

> that any tool imposes some limitations on me. I just want to suggest 

One of the things I notice is that people are demanding to have 
capabilities to do things that are not done in traditional media, 
whilst, at the same time, they consider the unique features of the web 
medium as undesirable and want it to have the predictability of 
traditional media!

> fine too. The questions I want to ask myself about any proposal are:
>     Does it fill a need, providing the tool (CSS) with better control 
> and more power?

You should also ask yourself whether the combination of a desktop 
publishing system and a final form distribution format might better 
support that want.

>     Does it make the tool easier to use, especially in the area of 
> understanding how to use it? (This is one reason many people complain 
> about HTML+CSS -- things happen which they don't understand and have a 
> hard time controlling to make their pages look the way they want. If my 

The big problem is that they start by deciding how the page will look, 
and then think about the content.  HTML is based on the idea that the 
content is dominant.  If appearance is the dominant requirement you will 
have problems using HTML + CSS because HTML wasn't intended for that 

>     Would the current *AND FUTURE* constraints of viewing hardware make 
> this control moot? (If I really want pixel-level control -- I don't -- 

When people say pixel perfect, what they really mean is an exact 
reproduction of what the designer see, rather more than implying a 
technology that has pixels.

David Woolley
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Received on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 22:17:56 UTC

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