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Re: flowing around both sides of a float

From: David Woolley <forums@david-woolley.me.uk>
Date: Mon, 07 Jan 2008 08:26:05 +0000
Message-ID: <4781E21D.2070109@david-woolley.me.uk>
To: WWW Style <www-style@w3.org>

Brad Kemper wrote:
> 
  > http://bradclicks.com/cssplay/centerfloat.html
> 

This one actually demonstrates my point that the only examples I can 
vaguely remember seeing in print don't have rectangular embedded 
content.  To make this one work well, I think you would need to cut out 
drop shapes around the individual drops.

It also uses text spanning the insert, whereas my impression was the 
proposal was being interpreted as splitting into two columns, one each 
side.  In this case, I think it probably does need to span.  I'm not 
sure how it how well it would work with word justification on both 
sides, which would be needed to make the words easy to read; if you 
break between characters, you are producing art, not a document to be 
read.  I have a suspicion that the justification would need tuning by 
hand or an algorithm optimized for this sort of imagery, which is an 
indication for using a PDL; I think getting words stretched on one side 
but not the other would look awkward.  (You might also want to try to 
get the breaks to be on characters that sloped the same way as the 
relevant edge of the drop.)

I think the headline is too long to get away with spanning the text, and 
maintain readability, but it isn't deep enough to justify going to two 
columns just for the headline.

I can imagine cases where the drops would be allowed to obliterate the 
text (I assume that, here, we are expected to pretend that they don't), 
although that would be in the sort of publication that is there mainly 
for the advertising.

There is nothing, of course, in this example, that couldn't be done in 
print.  And, in particular, the best way of handling something like this 
is a page description language, because it is likely to need hand tuning 
to look really good.

To do this with web media, I would think the best approach would be to 
slightly desaturate the image of the drops and use them as a background 
image.  The image is certainly pure styling snd should only exist in the 
style sheet.  That technique is also very common in glossy magazines.

If you want the headline to cut into the text, I think the only way to 
make it easy to read is to use columns conventionally, although, as you 
point out, that can make reading difficult on a screen (Acrobat now 
offers the ability to reflow as one column to get round that case).

Incidentally, I would have needed to disable images to read the bottom 
line (or select it).  I suspect you are complying with the letter but 
not the spirit of attribution requirements, i.e. you've styling to 
effectively remove inconvenient content.  Also, Arial is Microsoft only 
and the Drip... is more than 2.8em in the font that Linux Firefox 
substitutes.  It seems to display the overflow.
-- 
David Woolley
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Received on Monday, 7 January 2008 08:26:34 GMT

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