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From Miles Elam <mi...@geekspeak.org>
Subject Re: Incubator home page (was Tapestry)
Date Sun, 05 Jan 2003 22:12:31 GMT
If the nav has important content and that content is crowding other 
things out, perhaps the layout should simply be rethought.  Even in 
Nikola's centipede skin with its smaller fonts, a browser at 640x480 (or 
someone with visually-assistive technologies that make fonts larger) 
could run into this problem.

So am I correct in interpreting that the example is intended to make the 
content area keep a minimum size?  Isn't using a <pre /> tag bowing to 
the forces of browser hacks?  What ever happened to semantic meaning in 
markup?  Also, in your example, wouldn't the breakable nav text just 
wrap and excessively long identifiers  -- without breaks -- punch 
through the right side of the nav?

Some other options that don't scroll but keep the nav width tamed:
  2) allow the nav item text to wrap
  3) use CSS to clip the contents to fit a given width

#2 allows all of the text to be seen, and the nav bottom will simply 
extend further down the page;  However, if there are no breakable 
whitespace characters (eg. reallylongidentifiersthatgoonandonandon) this 
will blow out the layout.

#3 Here you tell the browser (in CSS) to keep the nav item heights 
static, the widths static, and clip the ends (with title attributes to 
show the full content).  Browsers that don't handle CSS won't have the 
nav on the left crowding things anyway.  The drawback of course being 
that you cannot see the whole identifier at once without the tooltip.  
Then again, is this something we want to encourage anyway?  Excessively 
long identifiers in a nav only tend to blur the information for the 
user.  Perhaps this would be a gentle nudge to the documentation author 
that they should rethink their nav identifier?

The third item has a related set of disadvantages.  If the nav is a 
fixed width (pixel-based width), as people raise the font size for 
readability, the visible portion of the identifiers will become shorter 
and shorter -- possibly obscuring their meaning.  If it is font-flexible 
(em-based width), as the font size is increased, the nav will take more 
and more screen real-estate.

-------

I guess the issues to work out are whether we should tweak font sizes in 
the nav, take measures to maintain a minimum size of the content area, 
and/or use some sort of truncation technique on nav identifiers.  
Overall, this is a general layout/design issue that may only be 
correctly be answered by site using Forrest.  Maybe a skin should be 
prepared that doesn't have the nav on the left side for sites that 
consider this an issue?  Personally, I hate pages that make me scroll 
horizontally to get to the main page content.  But I am not everyone;  
That may just be my pet peave.  What does everyone else think?

- Miles

>>>Also, what about putting the <pre/> in a horzizontally scrolling DIV
>>>(width:100%)? I don't know how this would work with all browsers (fail
>>>gracefully?).
>>>      
>>>
>>Can you add an example of that too? Seems cool, I wanna try it.
>>    
>>
>
>how about something like:
>
><div style="width:100%">
><div style="position:absolute;left:0px;width:170px;">
><!-- On rollover in most browsers the title displays like a tooltip -->
><a href="apage.html" title="The title or full label">yyyyyyyy</a>
></div>
><div style="margin-left:180px;margin-right:185px;width:70%;overflow:scroll;">
><pre>
>xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
></pre>
></div>
></div>
>
>Of course some tweaking will be necessay :)
>  
>


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