W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > August 2002

Re: Float overflowing behavior!

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Fri, 16 Aug 2002 18:25:57 +0000 (GMT)
To: Vadim Plessky <lucy-ples@mtu-net.ru>
Cc: "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.21.0208161721560.444-100000@dhalsim.dreamhost.com>

On Fri, 16 Aug 2002, Vadim Plessky wrote:
> But I naturally disagree with your opinion quaoted above.


> In particular,
> 1) writing a Web page using only <span>s and <div>s
> what's wrong with that?

From CSS2, 5.8.3, sums it up quite nicely:
# CSS gives so much power to the "class" attribute, that authors could
# conceivably design their own "document language" based on elements
# with almost no associated presentation (such as DIV and SPAN in
# HTML) and assigning style information through the "class" attribute.
# Authors should avoid this practice since the structural elements of
# a document language often have recognized and accepted meanings and
# author-defined classes may not.

> 3) document labelled as being HTML 4.01 Strict
>  what's wrong with this? It's much better than <html> without DTD.
> Of course XHTML is better, but HTML 4.01-Strict is *good enough* for most 
> applications.

You misquoted me. I said "using tables for layout in a document
labelled as being HTML 4.01 Strict". In other words, the bit about
4.01 Strict was a qualifier for the bit about tables.

> 4) saying width:100% when you mean width:auto
> How do you *know* what people *mean*? Do you have CrystalBall?

I don't know, and that's EXACTLY my point when I talk about
validators, later.

> Using 'width:auto' when you need div taking all width, is stupid, STUPID 
> approach!

Actually, it's the correct approach. "width:auto" means "take all the

Of course, you are correct that using anything on a <div> is a stupid,
STUPID approach, since <div>s mean nothing and should generally not
appear in markup at all.

Note: "class" attributes and "id" attributes are semantically neutral
(the contents of the attributes are opaque and per the spec don't have
predefined meanings) and should be generally avoided. They are only
really valid when the difference in semantics is too subtle for HTML
(for example, <em class="sarcasm"> vs <em class="irony">) or for when
the markup needs to be explicitly marked up for style reasons (when
that is needed, at least some semblence of structure should be kept,
e.g. <div class="footer">). XHTML2, with its <section> element, is
going to be helping a bit here.

> 5) "Those violations might not be caught by the imperfect and
> limited validators that the W3C provides, but they are just as bad
> if not worse than the simple technical errors that are caught by
> these automated verification tools."
> So, *good guys*

I make no moralistic judgements on who is good or bad; I'm just
pointing out that "validity" per the specs is a concept that is more
than just "validity" per the tools.

> wrote _perfect_ W3C specification

I have yet to see a perfect W3C specification.

> and there are *bad guys* using it in a wrong way?

There are certainly millions of people using the W3C specs incorrectly.

> If W3C designed bad specification, or offers bad validation tools-
> that's the problem of W3C, not of web authors!

Bad specifications are everyone's problem. (e.g. XSL:FO, IMHO)

I did not say the validation tools were bad, merely that they were not
(and can never be) the be and and end all about validity.

There is no way an automated validator could ever spot all four markup
mistakes in the following HTML code -- can you? (A very well written
validator should be able to spot one of the four, actually.)

   <html lang="english">
   <title>Written by Ian Hickson</title>
   <h1>Current weather in <cite>Berlin, Germany</cite></h1>
   <p>There are thunderstorms in Berlin at the moment. The air is very
   humid. The temperature is a warm 24&deg;C.
   <img src="icons/low-wind" alt="low wind icon">

You can see this document online, if it helps:


Ian Hickson                                      )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
"meow"                                          /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
http://index.hixie.ch/                         `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Friday, 16 August 2002 14:25:58 UTC

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