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Re: Gradient syntax proposal

From: James Elmore <James.Elmore@cox.net>
Date: Thu, 20 Aug 2009 10:22:12 -0700
Message-Id: <33908AAE-CBE6-4C24-96D4-825560B0DAFE@cox.net>
Cc: CSS <www-style@w3.org>
To: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>

On Aug 20, 2009, at 8:42 AM, Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:

> On Thu, Aug 20, 2009 at 9:53 AM, James Elmore<James.Elmore@cox.net>  
> wrote:
>> Sorry for quoting the entire message, but my brain can't find good  
>> places to
>> clip, yet today.
> No problem.  Clipped for you.  ^_^


>> Could we allow the designer / user to specify a reference point  
>> within the
>> gradient? I mean, if you want everything centered, specify the  
>> gradient line
>> in the middle of the element, then tell CSS that everything is  
>> offset from
>> the center of the gradient line.
> Hmm.  That's another interesting idea.
>> This is just a suggestion, and I can't imagine what a 'good'  
>> syntax would
>> look like, but imagine if I wanted my gradient centered, I might  
>> write:
>> linear-gradient(left 15px to right 15px / 50% / grey -40%, tan,  
>> grey +40%)
>> (I know, dumb example.) This would mean the gradient line runs  
>> left to right
>> in the center of the block, offset 15px from each edge. The color  
>> offsets
>> are from the 50% point of the gradient line, with grey on both  
>> left and
>> right edges as 10% of the gradient (50% +/- 40%), and the tan in  
>> the middle.
> Side note: your gradient isn't offset 15px from each edge.  Since this
> uses bg-position syntax, you're just placing a point at (0,15px) and
> one at (100%, 15px), that is, making an ordinary left to right
> gradient.  To get the edge offset you'd do "left 15px center" (the
> other point can be inferred).  Alternately, "15px center" or "15px
> 50%".

Even after reading the spec. about the bg-position (name?) I am still  
not understanding it very well. I need to wrap my mind around it some  
more. Thanks for the correction.

> Translating the example provided by David, you'd have:
> linear-gradient(30px center / 50% / green -50%, wheat -30%, wheat 30%,
> green 50%)
> Of course, this particular case can actually be reproduced well in the
> current syntax (I just didn't think of it earlier):
> linear-gradient(30px center / green, wheat 20%, wheat 80%, green)
> This relies on the fact that the fixed-width part of David's example
> is a solid color.  Let's assume instead that it's a gradient as well,
> e.g.:
> linear-gradient(left / darkgreen, green 30px, wheat 20%, wheat 80%,
> green calc(100% - 30px), darkgreen)
> Your proposal would make this:
> linear-gradient(left / 50% / darkgreen -50%, green calc(-50% + 30px),
> wheat -30%, wheat 30%, green calc(50% - 30px), darkgreen 50%)
> This, um, doesn't seem simpler at all.  It's actually quite a bit more
> difficult to follow.  It also doesn't solve the asymmetry problem that
> plagued David's example, where on the left the green stop pushes the
> wheat stop over, but on the right the wheat stop pushes the green stop
> over.

What if the rule specifies that the 'collapse' (or shifting, or  
offset, or whatever) that causes the asymmetry works around the point  
specified in my proposal? Rather than collapse right over left, they  
could collapse into the center (in this example)? That would erase  
the asymmetry as well as keeping the 'mental model' of the designer /  
user simpler. I recognize that this will not make every situation  
simpler, but it might help in some of them.

If this doesn't add anything, I will gladly retract the suggestion,  
but I would like to keep thinking about my proposal as it seems -- to  
my somewhat limited mind, this morning -- as though it would make  
some of the designs simpler or at least easier to understand.

> In my proposed syntax, this would be:
> linear-gradient(left / darkgreen, green 30px, wheat 20%, mirror);
> This seems to be really simple, doesn't require a lick of calc()
> (which is what Brad hated to see all over the place), and solves the
> asymmetry problem.
> The downside of 'mirror' (or whatever syntax it ends up with) is that
> it favors the 50% point.  Your proposal allows one to base things off
> of any location, which might make some situations easier.  I'm not
> sure what these situations might be, though, and the syntax ends up
> complexifying things enough that I'd want some pretty good
> justification before I integrated it.

I agree. This is just an idea that I tossed up. It does seem to  
expand on your mirror suggestion, however.

Also, I am not happy with the syntax. If this idea works out  
reasonably, perhaps one of the experts in parsing could suggest  
something better.

>> Yes, this can be done with calc(), and probably other ways as  
>> well. But if
>> the user is thinking in terms of centering, would it not be more
>> brain-friendly to allow everything to offset from the center?
> Possibly; I didn't see any savings in your example or David's example,
> but it's possible that it does make things simpler in some cases.
>> And, if the user has a menu, say 20em wide on the left edge, he/ 
>> she could
>> specify offsets from the menu edge as:
>> linear-gradient(left to right / 20em / wheat -20em, red, white, blue)
>> This would place the wheat on the left, starting at the left  
>> border (end of
>> the gradient, up to the zero point (now 20 px offset from the  
>> end), where
>> the red, white, and blue would start.
> Not quite.  ^_^  The red wouldn't default to 0%, because it's not the
> first stop.  The blue would still default to 100%, and then red and
> white would be distributed evenly between -20em and 100%.  Let's
> assume that you have "red 0" instead.

That's what I meant and did not type. Thanks again.

> Isn't it just as easy to specify that as:
> linear-gradient(20em 0 to 100% 0 / wheat -20em, red 0, white, blue)
> ?

This seems to me, that the gradient line starts at 20px, but the  
gradient itself starts at 0px. I guess it is possible for the  
gradient to extend past the end of the gradient line, but it seems,  
somehow, wrong. (Yes, thinking about it, I recognize that the color  
at the first -- zero? -- stop extends to the end of the box. But  
moving part of the gradient past the end of the line still mixes up  
my mind too much.)

>> Again, sorry for not clipping, but I wanted to capture the idea.  
>> Maybe I can
>> present it more clearly later, when I actually wake up.
> Heh, ok.  So far I'm not seeing anything that can't be handled as
> easily in the current syntax, and more easily with some sort of
> 'mirror' syntax, but I'm open to examples that show otherwise.
> ~TJ

Received on Thursday, 20 August 2009 17:22:54 UTC

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