W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > January 2014

Re: [css-regions] responsive and semantic use of named flows

From: Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@opera.com>
Date: Sun, 26 Jan 2014 13:11:51 +0100
Message-ID: <21220.64391.523850.592957@gargle.gargle.HOWL>
To: Brad Kemper <brad.kemper@gmail.com>
Cc: Alan Stearns <stearns@adobe.com>, "robert\@ocallahan.org" <robert@ocallahan.org>, "www-style\@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>
Brad Kemper wrote:

 > > Håkon - you and I certainly have our preferences, and I don’t think either
 > > of will convince the other. I’d be interested to hear other people’s
 > > opinions on this particular comparison.
 > 
 > I really want regions. I find them easy to understand, and
 > powerful, in a way that is familiar to me from using QuarkExpress
 > (back in the day) and then InDesign.

I grew up in FrameMaker, starting from version 1.2 in 1986. It was
marvelous to see what text flowing from one box/frame/region to the
other could do. In 1996 some of us sat down to create a web-based
proposal for this:

  http://www.w3.org/TR/NOTE-layout

Essentially, this is regions -- without using HTML elements.

I have later learned that the web is different from desktop
publishing. Web devices come in different shapes and sizes, and by
clinging to the desktop publishing metaphor we risk having designs
that look great if you happen to own a device like the one used by the
designer. If you don't, the design crumbles easily. Media queries can
be used to provide alternative designs for alternative devices, but it
gets verbose, tiresome and expensive. It is better to make sure CSS
features are responsive from the outset, than patching them up later
with media queries.

As such, the first example in the Regions specification is telling. It
creates a three-column design where the number of columns is fixed. If
you apply the style sheet to a short article, it will leave large
unused areas on your screen. The design doesn't scale, neither wrt.
screen size nor article length. But we don't really know, since there
are no implementations that can render it.

All this has turned me into a regions-sceptic.

I still have hopes that we can find a compromise proposal where:

  - people who'd like to set up explicit regions can do so
  - without abusing HTML element
  - designs are responsive, by default

David Baron has expressed this in a draft:

  http://dev.w3.org/csswg/css-overflow-3/

-h&kon
              Håkon Wium Lie                          CTO °þe®ª
howcome@opera.com                  http://people.opera.com/howcome
Received on Sunday, 26 January 2014 12:12:43 UTC

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