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Re: Proposal: Fixed Table Headers in CSS

From: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 2009 10:46:51 -0500
Message-ID: <4B265DEB.5060009@w3.org>
To: "Eric A. Meyer" <eric@meyerweb.com>
CC: "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>, Mikko Rantalainen <mikko.rantalainen@peda.net>, www-style CSS <www-style@w3.org>
Hi, Folks-

Eric A. Meyer wrote (on 12/14/09 10:02 AM):
> At 8:42 AM -0600 12/14/09, Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:
>> It seems that Slashdot's (recently?) adopted exactly what we're
>> discussing here in at least some of their comment thread views.
>>
>> http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/09/12/14/1330202/Broadband-Rights-amp-the-Killer-App-of-1900
>>
>> So it's obviously a worthwhile effect that we should pursue.
>
> I completely agree. I was recently working on-site with a client and
> they had exactly this need, both for table headers and more generic
> cases like sticky headings (a la the Slashdot example). The client is
> using JS to fake the effect now but would love to offload that effect to
> the presentation layer.

Given these instances, I reckon both cases (table headers and generic 
content) should be addressed.  I'm happy to help define some use cases 
and requirements, and even propose wording.  Eric, could you point us to 
your client's site (or make a minimal test case that illustrates all the 
places the effect was used), so we can better identify what the 
real-world uses are?

Here are a few open questions off the top of my head:

* should this include both headers and footers?  (My intuition is yes.)

* how should vertically-scrolled content (e.g. row headers, maybe more 
complex non-table content?) be handled? (my first instinct is that this 
effect should be defined as for scrolling

* should sticky content accumulate?
** i.e. will a sticky <h1> stay on the screen when its "child" <h2>s 
stick? will multiple <h2>s stick together? (I would guess that different 
"levels" of heading could accumulate, but not "siblings".)
** what about different "categories" of sticky content (headings and 
table headers)... would they accumulate?

* what should be the behavior when a user jumps to the middle of a 
containing block that would otherwise have a sticky header/footer when 
scrolled (e.g. a row in the middle of a very long table, a paragraph 
under a sticky <h2> itself under a sticky <h1>)?  (I think it the sticky 
content effect should be applied, though I suspect this will make 
implementation rather more difficult.)

* should there be an event that is thrown when content sticks, so that 
the author can choose to enhance the effect via script or declarative 
animation (change the background color of the sticky content, widen it 
to fill the top like the Slashdot example, shrink the font size and fade 
the color to make it more subtle, etc.)?
** if so, should there be another event when it unsticks?
** should there be an event attribute to indicate whether the content 
stuck to the top, bottom, left, right?
** any other events or attributes?

Regards-
-Doug Schepers
W3C Team Contact, SVG and WebApps WGs
Received on Monday, 14 December 2009 15:47:00 GMT

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