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Re: [CSS21] Question on section 9.5.1 Positioning float: error in sentence

From: Gérard Talbot <www-style@gtalbot.org>
Date: Tue, 8 Nov 2011 09:20:11 -0800
Message-ID: <278caef8e648b78c48c843f29d5911d6.squirrel@gtalbot.org>
To: "Anton Prowse" <prowse@moonhenge.net>
Cc: "Public W3C www-style mailing list" <www-style@w3.org>

Le Mar 8 novembre 2011 5:24, Anton Prowse a écrit :
> On 08/11/2011 01:55, "Gérard Talbot" wrote:
>> I've read the following sentence at least 20 times and I think there's
>> several small mistakes which can compromise comprehension.
>>
>> "
>> But in CSS 2.1, if, within the block formatting context, there is an
>> in-flow negative vertical margin such that the float's position is above
>> the position it would be at were all such negative margins set to zero,
>> the position of the float is undefined.
>> "
>> http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/visuren.html#floats
>>
>> I think such sentence should be stating instead
>>
>> "
>> But, in CSS 2.1, if, within the block formatting context, there is an
>> in-flow negative vertical margin such that the float's position is above
>> the position it would be at if such negative vertical margin was set to
>> zero, then the position of the float is undefined.
>> "
>
> Hi Gérard,
>
> Firstly, as I'm sure you're already aware but I note for the record,
> this sentence is a pretty evil compromise to get CSS21 out the door
> without having to worry about some difficult edge cases.


Hello Anton :)

No, I was not aware that such sentence was the object of some
compromise... although I am not very surprised.


> (I think the
> sentence could have been made notably tighter whilst still avoiding said
> edge cases, but there wasn't time unfortunately.)


Time... I have publicly stated [1] that W3C should consider taking the
time to develop and release CSS 2.2 which would fix, correct, clarify all
these issues, problems, errors, gaps [2], wording, lack of examples,
etc...


> Secondly, I think the sentence in the spec is a little strange but it's
> grammatically OK.  If "there is an" were replaced with "there is one or
> more" then the intent would be completely clear.


I have read such sentence again (along with your explanation) and still do
not feel that ordinary web authors are going to understand it like you
interpret it.


> The existing sentence
> is sound but it does use a rather over-formal style more typical of
> mathematics than of this kind of spec (especially this particular spec!).
>
> Cheers,
> Anton


If I do not understand a sentence like that under normal reading
conditions and if such sentence does not have a testcase, an example, a
schema, a related tutorial of some kind or something to relate to, then
there is little chance that ordinary web authors are going to understand
it.

One aspect of the current CSS 2.1 spec which is very weak IMO is the lack
of real live examples, instructional ones and even interactive ones,
schematic illustrations, code samples, ... Maybe spec writers were
counting on the CSS 2.1 test suite to provide such examples or to
compensate for such absence... if that is the case, then this is a serious
mistaken wishful expectation on their part.

The more I get involved into CSS 2.1 matters (www-style and
public-css-testsuite mailing lists), the more I believe CSS 2.1 spec was
mostly or solely written for, created with browser manufacturers and
web-aware software makers in mind and not for ordinary web authors.

regards, Gérard

[1]: http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/2011Jun/0180.html
[2]: http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/2011Apr/0743.html
-- 
CSS 2.1 Test suite RC6, March 23rd 2011
http://test.csswg.org/suites/css2.1/20110323/html4/toc.html

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Received on Tuesday, 8 November 2011 17:20:48 GMT

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