Re: float:center

On Dec 27, 2007, at 8:00 AM, John Oyler wrote:

> On Dec 27, 2007, at 5:27 AM, Anne van Kesteren wrote:
>> On Wed, 26 Dec 2007 16:55:42 +0100, Brad Kemper  
>> <> wrote:
>>> float:center would also be darn useful.
>> Every now and then someone suggests this and I tend to ignore  
>> those e-mails as I've no idea how this would realistically work,  
>> but asking is probably better so I get an understanding of what  
>> people expect this feature to do.
> Can't the effect they're looking for be had by merely centering the  
> element with margin: whatever auto ? Or do they specifically want  
> text to reflow around it?

This is a problem I noticed before, and commented on, but got no  
replies when I posted. 'float' does several things:
     1. changes the position of the block being 'floated' to the left  
or right.
     2. moves inline blocks and text which had already been  
positioned so the 'float' is not over it. and
     3. flows the following inline elements (blocks and text) so they  
'wrap' around the 'floated' object.

Some of these things can be controlled using CSS, but the reflow of  
inline blocks (2 and 3) and text are only triggered by the use of a  
'float: left;' (or 'right'). If 'float: center;' is allowed, some  
means of controlling the reflows will be needed. I would like to see  
something like 'reflow' which takes parameters such as 'before',  
'after', and 'both'. This would allow designers to control text (and  
inline block) reflowing around arbitrarily positioned elements. If  
the 'float' is sort of in the middle, the text could fill the line  
before the element, skip the space where the 'float' is, and then  
fill the line after the element. But this has to be under the control  
of the designer (or layout manager).

> What would happen if you float two elements, when floating both  
> left, they just stack up against the side,

Even this is not exactly set in stone. What if the first element is  
'short' and the second is taller. Might the designer want the text  
after the elements where they are next to each other, but on both  
sides of the taller element where it sticks out beyond the first  
element? (I'm not sure that I can draw this reasonably in ASCII  
characters. If what I've said isn't clear, I will try and explain,  
diagram it better.

> but obviously two elements can't be in the center simultaneously.  
> Would you center them at their common center then,  or does the  
> second float: center'ed element wrap down below it?

Can the different things that the 'float' style keywords cause to  
happen be controlled by the designer, so the designer can say, for  
example, 'float these two items in the center, but make the second  
clear the first' or 'float these two items in the center, next to  
each other.' The problem is that 'float' causes several things to  
happen, but only some of them are controllable by the user.

This needs to change.

> How many uses of this would there realistically be? Are there any  
> examples of such in typography at all?

Some magazines used to position an image or 'pull out quote' in the  
middle of articles. While I have seen the more common 'float between  
columns', I have also seen the text reflowed so the words just skip  
the area where the float is and continue on the other side. (This  
works best with wide columns and small floats.) I even recall some  
articles with three (narrower) columns where the 'float' caused  
margin changes in the left and right columns, and caused the text to  
skip over the image in the center column.

> It only makes sense if inline stuff reflows around it to appear on  
> both sides, but even then I can't figure out what the effect should  
> be. Do the two sides act as columns, and text wraps down the left,  
> and then starts up at the right? It can't do that and make much  
> sense, but then having each line skip something wide in the center  
> and move to the other side doesn't work well either.
> This sounds like something I think that I would have wanted before  
> I learned CSS better.
> John Oyler

James Elmore

Received on Saturday, 29 December 2007 20:27:52 UTC