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[CSS21] zindex.html "element" terminology

From: Peter Moulder <peter.moulder@monash.edu>
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2012 15:00:46 +1000
To: www-style@w3.org
Message-id: <20120716050046.GA2510@bowman.infotech.monash.edu.au>
On Sun, Jul 15, 2012, Anton Prowse wrote in one thread:

> [Despite the fact that Appendix E is written in terms of the stacking
> context and its descendants being elements not boxes, the proposal
> relies on the term "block container" which is currently a box term
> that's undefined for elements.  It would be great if we could just
> define "block container element" sensibly.]

and in another thread:

> Recently I hit upon yet another place in the spec where the context
> is elements and where the spec needs to be updated to refer to block
> containers: Appendix E. [1]  The new text will be incongruous if we
> don't define "block container element".

The above two both contain something of an error in that although Appendix E
uses the word "element", it's explicit that it uses the word in a special sense
(see E.1, where it's defined to mean something quite a lot like "box"; and the
phrase "For each box that is a child of that element" also suggests a very
box-like understanding of what Appendix E means by "element").

Thus, it's wrong or at least misleading to describe appendix E
as being about "elements and not boxes".

Although there remain some issues as to exactly what Appendix E means by an
"element" and its descendants, I think the above shows that the existing use of
the word "element" is causing problems: in a reference document such as the CSS
2.1 spec, people expect to be able to understand the meaning of a paragraph (or
a phrase such as "If the element is a block container", in the current case)
without reading the whole chapter to see that the word "element" has a
different meaning in this appendix to the rest of the spec.

I suggest that it should at least use a different word or phrase
("render-element" ?), and wouldn't be surprised if simply "box" ended up being
the right word.

pjrm.
Received on Monday, 16 July 2012 05:01:12 GMT

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