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Re: [CSS3] Flexible Flow Module, proposal.

From: Andrew Fedoniouk <news@terrainformatica.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 2009 10:59:24 -0700
Message-ID: <49E4CEFC.6000100@terrainformatica.com>
To: Philip TAYLOR <P.Taylor@Rhul.Ac.Uk>
CC: Zack Weinberg <zweinberg@mozilla.com>, www-style <www-style@w3.org>
Philip TAYLOR wrote:
> Andrew Fedoniouk wrote:
>> I do not see how use of '*' makes syntax worse. What exactly is 
>> causing problems in your opinion?
> May I address this, as someone otherwise uninvolved
> in this debate ?
> "*" does not mean (or suggest) "flexible unit", "flex",
> "infinite glue", or any similar concept.  It suggests
> a few things : multiplication, emphasis, wild-card,
> and so on.  Thus when one reads for the first time
> "1*" in CSS, one has no idea what it means, other than
> thinking that it is an error for "one times <something>",
> where the <something> has been accidentally omitted.
> "fl" on the other hand, whilst possibly suggesting "florin",
> also suggests "flexible", Knuth's "fil" and so on,
> and is thus very definitely suggestive of the concept
> you are trying to get across.  On encountering "1fl"
> in CSS, one is unlikely to think it means "one florin",
> and is far more likely to think of "one flexible unit"
> or "one fil".
>> About 'fl'. lowercase 'L' is not desirable in length units as it is 
>> close to the '1' in monospaced fonts. And 'f' belongs to hex digits -
>> may cause some inconsistencies in future.
> These are valid concerns, but do not seem to have caused
> any problems in the TeX world, where "fil" is ubiquitous.
>> In my opinion letters as units are ok only for SI units that are 
>> already well recognized internationally.
>> Conceptual things are better to be presented by iconic symbols like '*'.
> I strongly disagree.  Perhaps you are lucky, and icons are
> inherently meaningful to you; for myself, I even find
> aircraft safety leaflets virtually useless, because
> they consist solely of pictures rather than words. I
> can cope with "%" (and the corresponding symbol for
> "per mille") because I have been exposed to it/them
>  since childhood; "*" has no such associations for me,
> and (I suspect) for millions of other potential users
> of CSS.
> Philip TAYLOR
'*' as a unit is used already in these places:

1) In html, so called multi-length or relative units:
Used in tables[in supporting UAs] and framesets (@cols and @rows).

2) In following CSS3 proposals:

So I am not inventing anything new in notation plane.
I haven't heard any problems with recognizing flex units in this form to 
be honest.

There are '%' units already and I think that '*' will also be fine too.

If to think about flexes as weights or portions of space then 'N*' can 
be pronounced as -
"N portions of free space" or some such.

Andrew Fedoniouk.

Received on Tuesday, 14 April 2009 18:00:11 UTC

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