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Re: A proposal to replace 'tab-size' with 'tabstop-widths'

From: Nick Gravgaard <me@nickgravgaard.com>
Date: Wed, 02 Jan 2013 12:29:31 +0000
Message-Id: <1357129771.15983.140661172478357.101C8366@webmail.messagingengine.com>
To: www-style@w3.org
I didn't get any feedback on this and suspect it was because I posted it
on the weekend before the holidays.

I believe my proposal below is compatible with 'tab-size' (from the
current W3C Working Draft), more modern, more useful and is easy to

If I sent my proposal to the wrong mailing list could someone suggest a
more appropriate one?


On Sat, Dec 22, 2012, at 2:24, Nick Gravgaard wrote:
> Hi all.
> I'm the inventor of elastic tabstops
> (http://nickgravgaard.com/elastictabstops/), and I was recently
> contacted by someone who was working on Ace (http://ace.ajax.org/),
> which seems to be the most widely used browser based text editor. There
> had been some demand for elastic tabstops and he was attempting to
> implement it. This led me to look into how elastic tabstops might be
> implemented in Ace. The first thing I came across was the 'tab-size'
> property and I quickly realised that it was not sufficient to support
> what was needed.
> I would like to suggest something which is more powerful than 'tab-size'
> (http://www.w3.org/TR/css3-text/#tab-size) but should be easily
> implementable and would work like 'tab-size' when given one value. I
> propose a new attribute called 'tabstop-widths' which takes a list of
> widths measured in em and/or px values.
> The default would be '8em' which in a monospaced font is as wide as 8
> spaces or 'm' characters - the original Unix default and the same as the
> 'tab-size' default of '8'. It would however be possible to specify
> values for the new 'tabstop-widths' attribute like '8em 70px 4em 30px'
> which would mean the first tabstop should be positioned at a distance of
> 8 'm's (in the current font) from the left, then at an additional 70
> pixels, then a further 4 'm' character widths, and then a further 30
> pixels. The last value would be repeated which would mean in the example
> I gave the value of '30px' would be repeated for the length of the
> element. This would also mean that the default 'tabstop-widths: 8em'
> would be the same as the old default 'tab-size: 8'.
> Does that make sense? What do you think?
> Nick
> PS. It's not important but I call it 'tabstop-widths' rather than
> 'tab-stop-widths' because I think of a tabstop as being a thing or a
> noun which is different to a tab.
Received on Wednesday, 2 January 2013 12:29:55 UTC

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