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RE: Alignment in CSS

From: Stephen Zilles <szilles@adobe.com>
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2012 08:24:23 -0700
To: "www-style@w3.org list (www-style@w3.org)" <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <CE2F61DA5FA23945A4EA99A212B1579569B177C294@nambx03.corp.adobe.com>
Reposting to www-style:

I am a strong supporter of what you are trying to do. But, as one working on specifying alignment (within a line) in the Line Module, I find the choice of "alignment" for the module name to be unfortunate. I am aware that CSS has, for a very long time, overloaded the word "alignment". It means, among other things, aligning (and justifying) text in the inline direction, aligning glyphs (and replace elements) within a line in the block-progression direction, and aligning chunks (rather than lines) within a container (which is the case that you seem to be discussing). 

I do have a better title to suggest. Playing with a Thesaurus suggests that "placement" might be an acceptable substitute. "Placement" because many of the property  values place the element or content at a particular place in the container (the top, bottom, center) and only in a few cases (baseline) is alignment really called for. By "alignment", I am using a fairly narrow definition: putting things on the same "line" (which is often a baseline).

I like your distinguishing placement in the primary (inline, row) direction using "justify" from placement in the secondary (block-progression, column) direction using "align". I thing that terminology works well both for placement in a line and for placement in a container (not a line). We are, in fact, more likely to say a line is left (start) justified rather than left aligned. I am also reasonably happy with your suggested property names for placement within a container (even though they use "align" for what is often placement).

These observations, perhaps, suggest that there is a meta-module which talks about placement and points out the similarities of all of the above placement situations (both line and container based) and defines the terminology (much as you have done). The individual modules (test, line layout, flex-box, grid, ...) would reference this meta-module in their individual use of the terms and concepts.

Steve Zilles

-----Original Message-----
From: fantasai [mailto:fantasai@inkedblade.net] 
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2012 11:27 PM
To: w3c-css-wg
Subject: Alignment in CSS


I believe this closes the action items on me and Alex from the March 2008 F2F. :)

Received on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 15:24:58 UTC

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