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Outline Numbered Lists

From: Dylan Just <dylan.just@ephox.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Jun 2009 18:20:44 -0400
Message-ID: <AC64B893F36AB1409488C12AFBB10B760123D1B1@mse1be1.mse1.mailstreet.com>
To: <www-style@w3.org>
Hi,

I work for a company, Ephox, who develop a wysiwyg HTML editor called EditLive!. We have a number of law firms as clients, and they require "outline numbered" lists, in the format:

1. Item 1
1.1. subitem
1.1.1. sub-sub 1
1.1.2. sub-sub 2
1.2. subitem 2

I've looked through the css and html specs and found nothing to this effect, nor any browser support for such a list, though the list style is common in word processors. 

We have considered a number of workarounds, such as using css counters, but they are complex and lack browser support. We've also looked at models of editing a 'custom' list type in our editor, and rendering in a browser-supported format (which is what MS-Word does when outputting HTML for outline numbered lists). At the end of the day, none of these were viable options, and we had to push back on this requirement.

Ultimately, we would like a construct like this added to the CSS specifications. While this wouldn't help us any time soon, it is the most direct solution to a problem many have faced.

I see a number of ways this could work:
a) a new list-style-type value of "outline-numbered"
b) a new css property, say list-style-outline: outline/normal. "Outline" would prefix the marker with markers from previous levels.

The second one seems more flexible, without the complexity of counters. If you break down the numbering, the format is something like:
[parent marker][separator][current list marker][separator]
 
So, with (b) you may want another property, say, list-style-separator, which would default to a period. All of these list styles would inherit to sub-lists. So, the above list could be styled thus:

ol.outline {
	list-style-type:decimal; 
	list-style-outline:outline; 
	list-style-separator:period;
}

<ol class="outline">
....
</ol>

Has the w3c considered anything like this, and would it consider it in the future?

Kind regards,

Dylan Just
Software Engineer
www.ephox.com

Received on Wednesday, 17 June 2009 08:35:29 GMT

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