• 200707 Jun

    The W3C announced yesterday that they released new versions of the Multi-Column Layout module and the Media Queries module.

    The last version of the Media Queries module dated back to July 8th 2002, so some time had passes since. The Multi-column layout module had been updated somewhat more recently, on the 15th of December 2005.

    Changes to the Media Queries module

    Other than quite a few new examples and the module being updated to the new look and feel, I can’t find much changes to this module…

    Changes to the Multi-column layout module

    This new version removes the property column-break-inside, which basically worked the same as column-break-before or column-break-after but for the inside (hah, you weren’t expecting that, where you?), and “replaces” it with column-fill.

    It also adds the column-span property, which makes a lot more sense to me, allowing an element to span multiple columns. Example:

    h2 { column-span: all; }

    Good to see those modules updated, let’s hope they make it to final soon(-ish).

  • 200712 Apr

    Andy Budd gave a talk at this year’s Highland Fling web conference on the subject The Future of CSS (direct PDF download, 1.3MB).

    Readers of this site will be familiar with most of the content (although it’s still worth reading), but two things stood out for me:

    First, the use of simple calculations; I’ve thought for a long time that this would be useful, and I’m really glad that it’s being considered. Here’s an example:

    #mainContent {
    width: calc(100% - 200px)

    Second, the call for a CSS2.2. As he says:

    [There are] some really interesting things in CSS3. Many of them are fairly niche, with little demand. Many browsers already support the more interesting features of CSS3; Why not have an intermediary step covering the stuff people want?

    I hadn’t considered it before, but it makes sense. Most browsers now support a small range of simple CSS3 features, so why not partition those off to an intermediate recommendation while the other, more complex features are worked on?

  • 200722 Mar

    After the issue of the overhauled CSS3 Text module recently, I wonder if the Fonts module is due for similar treatment? The current working draft states:

    The working group believes this draft is stable and it therefore issues a last call for comments, before requesting the status of Candidate Recommendation for the draft. The deadline for comments is 30 August 2002.

    Four and a half years ago! That’s a long feedback process!

    The module introduces a few new features into the coder’s lexicon, and although none of them are truly essential, they would be very useful; there is so much text on the web, but typography is the least-developed aspect of CSS.

    font-size-adjust lets you preserve the height of type even if the user doesn’t have your first-choice font installed. Certain fonts have higher height aspect than others, so type that you’ve carefully styled to appear at a certain height could suddenly appear smaller if font substitution was used. font-size-adjust let’s you overcome that problem. The module provides some examples of font height aspects.

    font-stretch is useful when displaying font families with condensed or extended faces, such as Arial. You can select absolute (condensed, extended, etc) or relative (narrower, wider) values.

    font-effect allows you to apply ‘special effects’ to your font; choose from embossed, engraved, or outlined text.

    font-smooth switches anti-aliasing on or off. Fonts look so ugly without anti-aliasing, I can’t imagine a situation where you’d ever turn it off!

    Finally, three declarations with limited use outside of East Asia: font-emphasize-style and font-emphasize-position, along with the shorthand font-emphasize. These are used only to set emphasis on East Asian characters.

    Will this module make it to recommendation in this form? Or will it make a comeback in altered form? I suspect the latter. But I think the most radical change to web typography will come not from the implementation of this module, but from the implementation of @font-face, which will facilitate the use of non-core fonts.

    By the way, anyone interested in web typography should, if they haven’t already, read Richard Rutter and Mark Boulton’s Web Typography Sucks presentation. It’s a 4MB PDF download, but well worth ten minutes of your time.

  • 200707 Mar

    Back in May 2003, the CSS3 Text Module made it to Candidate Recommendation status, meaning:

    [The] W3C believes the specification is ready to be implemented.

    Before it made the next step to Proposed Recommendation status, however, it was decided that a complete overhaul was needed. Four years later, and the renamed CSS Text Level 3 has been issued as a Working Draft.

    This module:

    … defines properties for text manipulation and specifies their processing model. It covers line breaking, justification and alignment, white space handling, text decoration and text transformation.

    This is still a very rough document, with some intended declarations not defined yet – text-overflow, for example. You can see how it differs from the previous version with this list of changes.

  • 200630 Nov

    The difficulty many developers face when they start moving to table-less sites is getting the layout to work. Floats and positioning are easy enough for basic layouts, but start to become incredibly complex when moving to a more advanced level. When the push to move to pure CSS layouts became intense, the problem was – and is – that tables are still a lot more convenient in many cases, and there is sometimes no decent alternative without contorting yourself; you can’t even use the display: table family, as there’s no support in IE.

    An interesting potential solution is in the CSS3 Advanced Layout module.

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