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Re: [css3-multicol] The purpose of multi-column layout?

From: Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@opera.com>
Date: Tue, 25 May 2010 23:27:36 +0200
Message-ID: <19452.16584.200839.179833@gargle.gargle.HOWL>
To: "Andrew Fedoniouk" <news@terrainformatica.com>
Cc: <www-style@w3.org>
Also sprach Andrew Fedoniouk:

 > Simple question: what is the purpose of Multi-column Layout Module 
 > http://www.w3.org/TR/css3-multicol/ ? What problems it is trying to solve?

It avoids too long lines, and it avoids wasting formatting real estate.

Here are some examples where multicol layouts avoid long lines:

  http://www.princexml.com/samples/#wiki
  http://www.princexml.com/howcome/2008/wikipedia/united-states.pdf
  http://www.princexml.com/howcome/2008/wikipedia/norway.pdf
  http://www.princexml.com/howcome/2008/wikipedia/s2.pdf

These are all PDF documents, but CSS should be able to handle
print/archive as well, and the same issues will appear on wide
screens.

Here are two examples from Wikipedia that uses multi-column layout to
save real estate:

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hordaland
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counties_of_Norway

That is, long lists with short entries are flowed into multi-column
layouts. What starts out as multi-column markup/styling in the
Wikipedia source code is currently turned into HTML tables for the
benefit of browsers that do not support multi-column layouts. When
browsers support multi-column layouts, it will be natural to use CSS
for this. By, e.g., setting:

  ul { columns: 15em }

the list may be a single column on a small screen and three columns on
a wider screen. Elegant, no?

Finally, it should be noted that multicolumn layout on for the wen is
not an idea from the CSS WG -- Netscape 3 had it:

  http://www.eskimo.com/~bloo/indexdot/html/tagpages/m/multicol.htm

Cheers,

-h&kon
              Håkon Wium Lie                          CTO °þe®ª
howcome@opera.com                  http://people.opera.com/howcome
Received on Tuesday, 25 May 2010 21:28:45 GMT

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