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

Re: flowing around both sides of a float

From: James Elmore <James.Elmore@cox.net>
Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2008 14:35:54 -0800
Message-Id: <D7A7267A-ED43-4A08-B5AC-4AD7EDB6154F@cox.net>
To: Brad Kemper <brkemper@comcast.net>, CSS <www-style@w3.org>

On Jan 4, 2008, at 9:05 AM, Brad Kemper wrote:

> On Jan 4, 2008, at 6:37 AM, John Oyler wrote:
>> CSS should be a long length of rope, more than enough to hang  
>> yourself with, in my own opinion. If the advanced features of it  
>> turn it into a page description language, so be it. It'd still be  
>> superior to PDF in several ways. Html is many things, and  
>> documentation is only one of them.
>> If there are real examples in typography of centered floats, then  
>> it seems only reasonable that CSS might allow the same. If it were  
>> impossible or difficult to implement, this would be a valid reason  
>> for keeping it out of the spec. But if that (or some other  
>> pragmatic reason) is not the case, then it would be a mistake to  
>> keep it out.
> I totally agree with all that, except that I believe floats can and  
> are used for more than just the typographical pull quote type of  
> examples that come most readily to mind. People use them all the  
> time when they need block level items that are "shrink wrapped" and  
> will not overlap other objects. But we are pretty limited in where  
> we can stick them on the page.

There are people who need to SEE something before they can visualize  
it, and then they can understand its utility. If the fact that floats  
can be in the center of published material allows people to  
understand how it might be used, then I say, let's list that as ONE  
of its use cases. But there are plenty more use cases which either  
haven't been seen, are not in English, or can't be done on paper but  
might be great in a web page.

In the course of this discussion (about floats, I mean), it occurred  
to me that I hadn't even considered what uses might already exist in  
other languages. Since my experience with other languages, especially  
those that run in directions other than left-to-right, is practically  
zero, I hadn't considered how the current floats work for them, nor  
how future floats might match some typography or design features  
which already exist in them. I am unable to even imagine how future,  
expanded float features might be used in them. It is my hope that  
there are people in this group who can add to my meagre knowledge and  
add new use cases to the list. By the time we are finished, it should  
be much clearer that expanded float capabilities, including what you  
called 'shrink wrapping' (and I argued for as 'wrap' or 'flow- 
around') are useful tools.

James Elmore
Received on Friday, 4 January 2008 22:36:09 UTC

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