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Publishing the flexible box model

From: L. David Baron <dbaron@dbaron.org>
Date: Tue, 3 Jun 2008 21:48:25 -0700
To: www-style@w3.org
Message-ID: <20080604044825.GA406@pickering.dbaron.org>

I'd like to move forward with publishing the flexible box model as a
working draft.  There have been specs floating around for years, but
it's never been published on the TR page (despite, I believe, a
minuted group resolution to do so at one point).

I think the newest draft is
http://xulplanet.com/ndeakin/xul/specs/flexbox.html .  (There's also
an older draft at
http://www.damowmow.com/temp/csswg/old/ui/flexbox.html .)

I propose we use the shortname css-flexbox; I'm willing to import it
into dev.w3.org space and prepare it for publication if needed.

There's a good bit more technical work needed in writing up the
details of the layout algorithm in mathematical form (and also in
adding more examples, or readding dropped ones from the older spec).
However, I don't think that prevents us from publishing it as a
working draft so that we can get wider feedback on the material we
have so far.


I'll briefly summarize the reasons for this specification:

The flexible box model module adds features to the CSS box model
that provide some of the basic formatting concepts often used in
user interface layout.  Much of the specification is implemented in
both Gecko and Webkit (with prefixes), and this implementation forms
the basis of the formatting model of XUL, the language used to build
the user-interface of Firefox and a number of other applications.
These formatting concepts have a good bit in common with other
user-interface layout systems.

Although many Web pages are essentially user interface, or documents
in the middle wrapped in user interface on the edges, they are laid
out using formatting primitives designed for formatting documents,
causing much frustration for authors.  The goal of standardizing this
material at the W3C is to provide Web authors with formatting
primitives that are more capable of representing the layouts that
they want to achieve while effectively using the space provided by
browser windows of varying sizes.  (I talked about this in a good
bit more detail in my talk at XTech two years ago; see
http://xtech06.usefulinc.com/schedule/paper/146 .)

-David

-- 
L. David Baron                                 http://dbaron.org/
Mozilla Corporation                       http://www.mozilla.com/
Received on Wednesday, 4 June 2008 04:49:04 GMT

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