RE: CSS multi-column layout

"Reflow" is not a dirty word to us at all.  :^)  In fact, one of the two
problems I see with DSSSL is the difficulty of extending it to support
dynamic alteration of content (e.g., what we mean when we use the term
"Dynamic HTML").  Practically speaking, DSSSL was originally written for
print, and was extended for static screen (and other media)
presentation.  It's not really designed with hooks for dynamics - the
DSSSL transformations are one-way.  There's not really any way to change
a piece of the source content (e.g., add a <P> element) and cause the
changes to happen in the flow object tree without rebuilding the ENTIRE
flow object tree.  I'm not saying this should necessarily have been a
design goal of DSSSL, just that it's a fairly major limitation as far as
I'm concerned.

The other problem, which has been discussed here for the last few days,
is the syntax; as Alan Karben just said, "...CSS is great for
non-programmers to author in Notepad...DSSSL is built cleanly from the
ground up..., but needs GUI tools before it is fit for widespread
acceptance."  _I_ can write DSSSL, and I don't even think it's
unnecessarily obtuse... but it's nowhere near as simple for
non-programmers to author stylesheets in DSSSL as in CSS.  Someone made
the point a day or two ago that CSS "relies on HTML", and to some degree
I have to agree - CSS certainly doesn't attempt to define "flow object
classes" (pardon the theft of a DSSSL term) outside the scope of what
you can do in HTML 2.0, and doesn't even define all of those (e.g., no
table model).  However, CSS still provides 1) lots of value in
separating content and presentation, which was previously impossible in
HTML, and 2) a fair number of presentation properties that weren't
available in regular HTML.  As Jon Bosak said, "let's use both".

Chris Wilson

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Robert Stevahn [SMTP:rstevahn@boi.hp.com]
> Sent:	Friday, April 18, 1997 10:13 AM
> To:	www-style@w3.org
> Subject:	Re: CSS multi-column layout
> Are columns useful independent of the ability to position images (and 
> other things) between them? If so, what happens when an inline image 
> is wider than the column width, and you're rendering the last column 
> on a page?
> While multi-column layout per se can be relatively straightforward,
> when you add in the ability to float elements between columns it
> gets quite complicated, and tends to require reflowing of column
> contents. Reflowing tends to be a very dirty word when discussing
> features with implementers.
> Regards,
> --
> Robert Stevahn -- mailto:rstevahn@boi.hp.com
> +1 208 396 4787 -- HP Business LaserJet Division
> Personal: mailto:rstevahn@pobox.com