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Re: [css3-text] Balance Text proposal

From: Peter Moulder <peter.moulder@monash.edu>
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2013 13:00:29 +1100
To: www-style@w3.org
Message-id: <20130131020029.GA30169@bowman.infotech.monash.edu.au>
> This algorithm does not affect the width or height of the containing
> element as this may affect rendering of the rest of the document. The
> resulting text will always wrap to same number of lines as original text
> so height doesn't change.

I see that David has already pointed this out before I finished writing
this message, but I might as well still give the example I'd written for
the mix-of-heights-or-baselines case: changing the line breaks can change
whether two tall elements are on the same line or different lines.

However, I don't see that it's of absolute importance that text-wrap:balance
have no effect on height.

Giving a different answer to the question about pagination or column
balancing: text-wrap:balance should have no effect on width of the column.
Even if different iterations of column balancing somehow result in
different heights of text-wrap:balance text (as might happen due to
floats), this is something that column balancing has to deal with whether
or not text-wrap:balance is present.

Incidentally, column balancing and line balancing are very similar
problems; I imagine that both the pitfalls and solutions are similar.

> We'd need to decide whether shrink-to-fit containers would respond to the
> possibly shorter line lengths.

Can you say a bit more about the cases you're thinking of here?  I'm
thinking that text-wrap:balance shouldn't affect that, but it may well be
that I'm not thinking of the same cases you are.

Currently, the width of a float or inline-block isn't affected by wastage
at the ends of lines.  (Arguably the preferred-width or even minimum-width
cases are exceptions, but line balancing wouldn't affect the width in those
cases anyway.)  As to whether we should change this for the case that line
balancing does effect, namely that where shrink-to-fit is the available
width, it's not clear that making the float a bit narrower than available
width is in general an improvement anyway.  Sometimes it would be better,
sometimes worse.

The analysis for auto-table-layout table cells is slightly different.
To start with, their width isn't normatively defined.  One could say much
more about tables, but let's just say that whether it's desirable to
calculate column widths based on something like the balanced width of the
content doesn't seem to depend much on whether the content really does have

In all of these cases, one would occasionally want the container width
to shrink to reduce wastage at the ends of lines even without line
balancing, and in each case one would sometimes not want to do so even with
line balancing.  OTOH, text-wrap:balance does make it more common to want
shrink-to-actual-width in each case.  Still, my feeling is that it would be
a separate property proposal, one that just happens to be made a bit more
compelling by the existence of text-wrap:balance.

Received on Thursday, 31 January 2013 02:00:58 UTC

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