Re: Columns and other layouts

On Mon, 28 Apr 2003, Ben Godfrey wrote:
> This conversation is not just about tables, it's about layout. Tables do
> some things very right but the thing that worries me about leaving it at
> "CSS has tables" is that you're saying that, as long as we have a better
> syntax for an old hack, all our layout issues are gone. They're not.

I don't deny that CSS can and probably should be extended to give authors
more expressive power and the ability to generate more flexible layouts. I
was merely pointing out that saying "tables can do this but CSS can't" is
a flawed argument since CSS in fact supports most (at the CSS2 level) if
not all (at the CSS3 level) of the features used in tag soup table layout.

> Now we have a situation where the same is true for positioning, floating
> and other CSS tactics. Logically simple layouts require lots of rules
> and markup. This isn't good, if you've got a simple concept, you can
> express it more accurately using simple language. I'm not going to
> suggest new syntax, because it would almost certainly be wrong, but I
> continue to assert that we need more expressive controls.

The existence of the CSS working group should assure you that the W3C and
its member companies agree with you that "we need more expressive
controls". The problem is coming up with good solutions.

It is likely that the CSS3 Positioning module (when it comes out, which is
not likely to be soon) will contain support for features such as:

   :root { position: center; overflow: auto; } center the document in the viewport, with scrollbars if needed. [1]

That takes care of one common request.

Similarly, the CSS3 Generated Content module will probably contain more
radical proposals for features such as footnotes and cross-references.

So far, though, nobody has suggested any way of expressing the "simple"
constraints that Coises gave in his e-mail. The truth is that these are
actually incredibly complicated, both to specify and implement, and
without concrete proposals it is unlikely they will ever find their way
into any CSS spec. I have yet to even see a list of _requirements_ for
such a feature, in fact -- and I don't know where I would start if I had
to write one myself.

So please -- do suggest syntax. Or if not syntax, then at least a model,
or a list of actual requirements. It is only with something concrete like
that that we (the working group) can try to satisfy your requests.

-- References --
[1] (members only)

Ian Hickson                                      )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
"meow"                                          /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.                         `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

Received on Sunday, 27 April 2003 21:57:57 UTC