W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > October 2010

Re: [css3-multicol] overflow and paging?

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2010 12:55:52 -0700
Message-ID: <AANLkTim-kGd1TjHPp+yobkwNGMiaoLqpZxbX5YOv-RVL@mail.gmail.com>
To: shelby@coolpage.com
Cc: Brad Kemper <brad.kemper@gmail.com>, David Storey <dstorey@opera.com>, www-style@w3.org
On Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 11:33 AM, Shelby Moore <shelby@coolpage.com> wrote:
>> On Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 10:54 AM, Shelby Moore <shelby@coolpage.com>
>> wrote:
>>> Thus isn't the spec is wrong then? Should it ever allow the column
>>> height
>>> to be greater than constrained height of any outer container, because
>>> afaics the result is typographically erroneous. Note I am not referring
>>> to
>>> the non-paging media viewport container (including <iframe> and
>>> <frame>).
>>> Can anyone think of a valid need for that?
>>
>> Simplicity and predictability, mainly.  We could make CSS attempt to
>> be smarter about how it reacts to ancestor heights, but that would
>> make it harder to predict how it works.  It's fairly simple to fix the
>> issue manually with a few "height:100%" rules scattered around.
>
> I am usually the one to argue for orthogonality, so I agree with you on
> that principle.
>
> But the trade-off is that CSS is used by naive developers (like me
> sometimes, hehe), who even after we add the "column-overflow:block"
> option, are going to forget to put the "height:100%" and are going to
> probably not even notice or care that the columns are too tall for the
> container. I didn't notice that because of this, effectively the sort
> order of the user profiles which is the flowed multi-col content (see
> prior diagrams) was wrong until after weeks of working with my site every
> day. It is deceptive thing that people won't really notice, the usability
> error will accumulate somewhat silently.
>
> Thus usability of the www could suffer. There is the amatuer programmer
> requirement I think on CSS?
>
> In this case, wouldn't it be much more predictable if multi-col containers
> always limit their column height to any blocking constraint of their outer
> containers, up to but not including the viewport or frame? And then have
> an explicit setting to turn that off, e.g. "column-height:auto".  So the
> default would be "column-height:constrain".
>
> Any opinion?

I don't really think it would make things any more predictable.

I'll note that, had you used somewhat cleaner HTML without a container
element, the issue wouldn't have arisen at all, as the height of the
element would have been specified rather than 'auto'.  This is, of
course, not always an option with current CSS layout techniques; you
often need to augment the DOM with additional elements to make the
page act as expected.  My goal in this group right now is to fix this
in the majority of cases by providing more powerful layout models such
as Flexbox, Template, and others.

~TJ
Received on Thursday, 14 October 2010 19:56:42 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 26 March 2013 17:20:32 GMT