Re: Columns and other layouts

> It's possible to minimize the differences between lines (e.g., until
> the minimum and maximum line length are as close in length as

Multiline justification optimisation (although not at the expense of
generating very narrow paragraphs) dates back at least as far as TeX,
and is, I believe, in the Unix "fmt" utility.

The problem for web pages though, is that browsers should be optimised
for incremental rendering, and the result is either a delay in rendering
or irritating reflow from the proovisional to the final form (the TeX
algorithm, I believe, optimises at a paragraph level).

A lot of requests, these days, seem to be for features that require
that documents be rendered as a whole.  That's OK if you print the
result as a whole, like with TeX or troff, or if it is done during
desk top publishing composition, where the author, rather than the
reader in inconvenienced - you can then use a final form format, 
like PDF (or SVG, although, whilst afraid this will happen, I think
it will be a pity if the main use of SVG is as a page description
language for web pages).

HTML has rather different attributes, in that, in the original justification
for it, content was more important than layout (probably heretical on 
www-style) and that it is typically incrementally rendered onto low
quality media.  I'd note that even many layout table designs are capable
of incremetnal rendering, even though there is general ignorance of
table-layout: fixed.  Display versions of page description language renderers
almost always render incrementally, although a sensible result is dependent
on a sensible linearised reading order.

Received on Tuesday, 29 April 2003 02:54:07 UTC