W3C

CSS Line Grid Module Level 1

Editor's Draft 2 April 2014

This version:
http://www.w3.org/TR/2014/ED-css-line-grid-1-20140402/
Latest version:
http://www.w3.org/TR/css-line-grid-1/
Editors:
Elika Etemad, Invited Expert
, Invited Expert
, Adobe Systems, Inc.

Abstract

This module contains CSS features for aligning content to a baseline grid. CSS is a language for describing the rendering of structured documents (such as HTML and XML) on screen, on paper, in speech, etc.

Status of this document

This is a public copy of the editors' draft. It is provided for discussion only and may change at any moment. Its publication here does not imply endorsement of its contents by W3C. Don't cite this document other than as work in progress.

The (archived) public mailing list www-style@w3.org (see instructions) is preferred for discussion of this specification. When sending e-mail, please put the text “css-line-grid-1” in the subject, preferably like this: “[css-line-grid-1] …summary of comment…

This document was produced by the CSS Working Group (part of the Style Activity).

This document was produced by a group operating under the 5 February 2004 W3C Patent Policy. W3C maintains a public list of any patent disclosures made in connection with the deliverables of the group; that page also includes instructions for disclosing a patent. An individual who has actual knowledge of a patent which the individual believes contains Essential Claim(s) must disclose the information in accordance with section 6 of the W3C Patent Policy.

The following features are at risk: …

Table of contents

1. Introduction

1.1. Background

This section is not normative.

This specification provides features to align lines and blocks to invisible grids in the document.

Aligning lines and blocks to grids provides the following benefits:

There are several types of objects in a document that can break the vertical rhythm. Examples include lines with different sizes of text, pictures, and tables.

Vertical rhythm kept through pictures and different size of text in a multi-column document

Vertical rhythm kept through pictures and different size of text in a multi-column document.

Large text wraps within line grids

Large text wraps within line grids.

When a different size of text, such as a headings, wraps, it is usually aligned to grids as a block and the lines within the block do not align.


Sidenotes (and footnotes for that matter) are often set at a smaller size than the basic text. This smaller text should still line up with the basic text. Authors can achieve this effect by calculating appropriate font-size, line-height, and margins*.
Only if author controls everything. It can easily be broken by user stylesheet, for instance.

Sidenotes are set at a smaller size, but still line up with the basic text.

East Asian layouts may require width be a multiple of em without fractions

East Asian layouts may require width be a multiple of em without fractions.

East Asian layouts may require grid-like features in inline progression direction as well.

It is often desirable in East Asian layouts to make the line width a multiple of em without fractions. Because most East Asian characters have 1em advance and most East Asian documents are justified, this minimizes cases where justification needs to expand character spacing.

This module provides the following capabilities:

It is important to control these capabilities independently, so that, for example, aligning to grids can be turned off for tables, but can then be turned back on for aligning the following text to the grids.

1.2. Module Interactions

This module extends the line box model defined in [CSS21] sections 9.4.2 and 10.8.

1.3. Values

This specification follows the CSS property definition conventions from [CSS21]. Value types not defined in this specification are defined in CSS Level 2 Revision 1 [CSS21]. Other CSS modules may expand the definitions of these value types: for example [CSS3COLOR], when combined with this module, expands the definition of the <color> value type as used in this specification.

In addition to the property-specific values listed in their definitions, all properties defined in this specification also accept the inherit keyword as their property value. For readability it has not been repeated explicitly.

2. Defining a Line Grid: the ‘line-grid’ property

Name: line-grid
Value: match-parent | create
Initial: match-parent
Applies to: block containers
Inherited: no
Animatable: no
Percentages: N/A
Media: visual
Computed value: specified value
Canonical order: per grammar

Specifies whether this box creates a new baseline grid for its descendants or uses the same baseline grid as its parent. (Each box always has an associated line grid. However, whether a box or its contents snap to a line grid is determined by ‘line-snap’ and ‘box-snap’.)

match-parent
Box assumes the line grid of its parent.
create
Box creates a new line grid using its own font and line layout settings. The line grid consists of a series of horizontal lines corresponding to all the baselines (alphabetic, text-top, text-bottom, mathematic, central, hanging, etc.) and to the line-over and line-under edges, positioned where they would fall if the contents of this element consisted entirely of line boxes filled with text (no sub-elements) using the first available font. If the box is paginated, the line grid is restarted on each page; since line boxes cannot be fragmented, no page begins with the bottom part of a line's grid.

The names of these values is currently up for debate. Current suggestions for ‘match-parent’ include ‘match-parent’ and ‘normal’; those for ‘create’ include ‘create’ and ‘new’.

The original proposal for line grids allowed an element to create a named grid. This property could still be extended to do this in the future.

Håkon points out that there might be a need to have line grids aligned to the page box rather than the page content box. The current proposal has no way to switch between the two.

There might need to be an offset for more complicated designs. How to set this offset is problematic: usually it's not a fixed length, but the distance to clear some header content.

3. Snapping to a Grid

3.1. Snapping Line Boxes: the ‘line-snap’ property

Name: line-snap
Value: none | baseline | contain
Initial: none
Applies to: all elements
Inherited: yes
Animatable: no
Percentages: N/A
Media: visual
Computed value: specified value
Canonical order: per grammar

This property applies to all the line boxes directly contained by the element, and, when not ‘none’, causes each line box to shift downward (possibly by zero) until it snaps to the line grid specified by ‘line-grid’. (The unshifted position is the position that would be determined by normal line stacking rules, with consideration of any new controls defined by other modules such as [CSS3LINE].) Values have the following meanings:

none
Line boxes do not snap to the grid; they stack normally.
baseline
The dominant baseline snaps with the matching baseline on the line grid applying to the element.
contain
Two baselines are used to align the line box: the line box is snapped so that its ‘central’ baseline (halfway between the ‘text-over’ and ‘text-under’ baselines) is centered between one of the line grid's ‘text-over’ baselines and a subsequent (but not necessarily consecutive) ‘text-under’ baseline.

In some cases lines of equal line height will not align perfectly to a baseline grid: this happens, for example, when fonts (of the same size) with different baseline tables are mixed on a line. For this reason, if shifting the line by the largest difference between the smallest ascent and largest ascent of a single size used on the line would result in a smaller shift, then the contents of the line box are shifted up within the line box so as to allow the line to snap without jumping downward to the next grid line.

3.2. Line Snap Allowance: the ‘line-slack’ property

Name: line-slack
Value: none | <integer>
Initial: none
Applies to: all elements
Inherited: yes
Animatable: no
Percentages: N/A
Media: visual
Computed value: specified value
Canonical order: per grammar

This property specifies the slack in snapping lines to a grid.

none
No slack: each line box is snapped to the grid.
<integer>
Nominally, each nth line box is snapped to the grid or each nth grid line has a line box snapped to it, whichever results in smaller shifts, for the specified integer as n. A value of ‘1’ allows, for example, lines of half the grid height to fit twice as densely, while a value of ‘2’ also allows lines 1.5 times the grid height to match the grid 2:3. A value less than ‘1’ is invalid.

When ‘line-snap’ is given as a <baseline>, the ‘line-slack’ property interpolates a grid against the main line grid and snaps the element's line boxes against this grid. The interpolated grid is drawn by creating a new line grid using the baseline table and ‘line-height’ of the current element and increasing the inter-line spacing of this new grid to snap according to the element's ‘line-snap’ and ‘line-slack’ values. The first snapped line is chosen to minimize the shift of the first line box of the element. The interpolated grid is only used for this block's line boxes; descendant boxes interpolate their own grid against the main grid.)

Define something sane for ‘line-snap: contain’.

User Agents are not required to support values greater than 4; unsupported used values higher than 4 must be clamped to 4.

Can it be extended to handle vertical justification?

3.3. Snapping Block Boxes: the ‘box-snap’ property

This is a rough draft of trying to solve the box-snapping problem.

Name: box-snap
Value: [ none | margin-box | border-box | half-border ]? ]{1,4} [ / <identifier>{1,4} ]
Initial: none
Applies to: block-level boxes and internal table elements except table cells
Inherited: yes
Animatable: no
Percentages: N/A
Media: visual
Computed value: specified value
Canonical order: per grammar

Specifies which edges, if any, are snapped to the line box grid. If four values are specified, they apply to the before, end, after, and start edges of the box, respectively. If the start edge is omitted, it is the same as the end. If the after edge is omitted, it is the same as the before. If the end edge is omitted, it is assigned ‘none’. Values have the following meanings:

none
The edge is not snapped to any grid.
margin-box
The margin edge is snapped to the nearest grid line.
border-box
The border edge is snapped to the nearest grid line.
half-border
The edge halfway between the border and padding edges is snapped to the nearest grid line.
<identifier>
Names the grid to snap to. Defaults to the effective ‘line-grid’. If the named grid does not exist (or has no lines in the appropriate dimension), then the affected edge is not snapped.

This allows the author to specify a grid that is not a line grid.

When snapping to baselines on a line grid, either the text-over or text-under baseline is chosen: whichever one is on the matching side of the central baseline. For example, when snapping the before edge in horizontal writing mode, the over edge is chosen. In some cases the under edge might be used instead for the before edge: for example, when the writing mode of the line grid doesn't match that of the affected element, or when due to the ‘text-orientation’ settings the under side corresponds to the after edge.

To snap a before, start, or end edge of a block-level element or its after margin-box edge to a grid line, the effective margin is increased at that edge. To snap an after border-box or half-border edge to a grid line, the effective content-box height is increased. If, however, the box is an empty block that could be collapsed through, then this property has no effect. [CSS21]

When applied to table row group and table row boxes, ‘box-snap’ only affects the before and after edges, and only if those edges are not at the beginning or end of the table, respectively. To snap a before edge on a table row or row group, the preceding row's height is increased. To snap an after edge on a table row or row group, the affected row's height is increased.

When applied to table column group and table column boxes, ‘box-snap’ only affects the start and end edges, and only if those edges are not at the start or end of the table, respectively. How the space is redistributed among columns to satisfy snapping constraints is not defined, however:

To satisfy these constraints, some column edges may remain unsnapped.

For internal table elements in separated borders tables, ‘margin-box’ represents the edge at the midpoint of the border spacing. For collapsed tables, ‘margin-box’ and ‘border-box’ are treated as ‘half-border’. When two coinciding edges have conflicting snap values, the later value wins.

4. Layout in Grid Units

This section is mostly unrevised brainstorming.

4.1. Grid Length Units: the ‘gd’ unit

The existence of a grid in an element makes it possible and very useful to express various measurements in that element in terms of grid units. Grid units are used very frequently in East Asian typography, especially for the left, right, top and bottom element margins.

Therefore, a new length unit is necessary, gd, to enable the author to specify the various measurements in terms of the grid.

For example, consider the following style:

P { layout-grid: strict both 20pt 15pt; margin: 1gd 3gd 1gd 2gd }

This way, all P elements would effectively acquire a 15pt top margin, a 60pt right margin, a 15pt bottom margin and a 40pt left margin.

If no grid is specified, the gd unit should be treated the same as the em unit.

Just copied from old WD, need to refresh

The most common addition of vertical space is that inserted between paragraphs. If the rhythm of the page is to be maintained, the spacing of paragraphs should be related to the basic leading. This is achieved by setting top- and bottom-margins equal to ‘1gd’.


p {
  layout-grid-line: 1.5;
  layout-grid-mode: baseline;
  margin-top: 1gd;
  margin-bottom: 1gd;
}

East Asian layout often requires heights specified by the count of the line grids. In Japanese, this method is called Gyou-dori. Refer to [JLREQ] for more details about Gyou-dori.


h1 {
  line-grid-mode: block;
  min-height: 3gd; /* 3 Gyou-dori */
  margin-top: 1gd;
}

gem’ length unit is also requested

4.2. Rounding Lengths to Multiple of Units: ‘rounddown()’ and ‘roundup()

The ‘width’ and ‘height’ properties accept ‘rounddown(length)’ and ‘roundup(length)’ values.

The ‘rounddown(length)’ computes to ‘auto’, and then the result will be rounded down to the largest multiple of the specified unit that is equal to or less than the original computed value.

Similarly, the ‘roundup(length)’ computes to ‘auto’, and then the result will be rounded up to the smallest multiple of the specified unit that is equal to or greater than the original computed value.

The fraction is distributed evenly to the computed values of margins on each side. If it is used for ‘height’, half the fraction is added to the top and the bottom margins. If for ‘width’, to the left and the right margins.

When the element is a float, the fraction is added to the opposite side of the float direction instead. For example, if the ‘float’ property is ‘left’, the fraction is added to the right margins.

Is this design appropriate to solve text with floats case?

Are there requirements for table cell width?

Should have an option to left/right align instead of center? Can author align running head and page numbers with body with this design?

Use cases for non-East Asian layouts?

It is often desirable for East Asian layouts to make the line width to be multiple of em without fractions. Because most East Asian characters have 1em advance and most East Asian documents are justified, this minimizes cases where justification is needed to expand lines.


body {
  margin: 3cm 3.5cm 3cm 3cm;
  text-align: justify;
  width: rounddown(1em);
}
.sidefigure {
  float: right;
  width: roundup(1em);
}

5. Conformance

5.1. Document Conventions

Conformance requirements are expressed with a combination of descriptive assertions and RFC 2119 terminology. The key words “MUST”, “MUST NOT”, “REQUIRED”, “SHALL”, “SHALL NOT”, “SHOULD”, “SHOULD NOT”, “RECOMMENDED”, “MAY”, and “OPTIONAL” in the normative parts of this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119. However, for readability, these words do not appear in all uppercase letters in this specification.

All of the text of this specification is normative except sections explicitly marked as non-normative, examples, and notes. [RFC2119]

Examples in this specification are introduced with the words “for example” or are set apart from the normative text with class="example", like this:

This is an example of an informative example.

Informative notes begin with the word “Note” and are set apart from the normative text with class="note", like this:

Note, this is an informative note.

5.2. Conformance Classes

Conformance to CSS Line Grid Level 1 is defined for three conformance classes:

style sheet
A CSS style sheet.
renderer
A UA that interprets the semantics of a style sheet and renders documents that use them.
authoring tool
A UA that writes a style sheet.

A style sheet is conformant to CSS Line Grid Level 1 if all of its declarations that use properties defined in this module have values that are valid according to the generic CSS grammar and the individual grammars of each property as given in this module.

A renderer is conformant to CSS Line Grid Level 1 if, in addition to interpreting the style sheet as defined by the appropriate specifications, it supports all the properties defined by CSS Line Grid Level 1 by parsing them correctly and rendering the document accordingly. However, the inability of a UA to correctly render a document due to limitations of the device does not make the UA non-conformant. (For example, a UA is not required to render color on a monochrome monitor.)

An authoring tool is conformant to CSS Line Grid Level 1 if it writes syntactically correct style sheets, according to the generic CSS grammar and the individual grammars of each property in this module.

5.3. Partial Implementations

So that authors can exploit the forward-compatible parsing rules to assign fallback values, CSS renderers must treat as invalid (and ignore as appropriate) any at-rules, properties, property values, keywords, and other syntactic constructs for which they have no usable level of support. In particular, user agents must not selectively ignore unsupported component values and honor supported values in a single multi-value property declaration: if any value is considered invalid (as unsupported values must be), CSS requires that the entire declaration be ignored.

5.4. Experimental Implementations

To avoid clashes with future CSS features, the CSS specifications reserve a prefixed syntax for proprietary property and value extensions to CSS. The CSS Working Group recommends that experimental implementations of features in CSS Working Drafts also use vendor-prefixed property or value names. This avoids any incompatibilities with future changes in the draft. Once a specification reaches the Candidate Recommendation stage, implementors should implement the non-prefixed syntax for any feature they consider to be correctly implemented according to spec.

5.5. CR Exit Criteria

For this specification to be advanced to Proposed Recommendation, there must be at least two independent, interoperable implementations of each feature. Each feature may be implemented by a different set of products, there is no requirement that all features be implemented by a single product. For the purposes of this criterion, we define the following terms:

independent
each implementation must be developed by a different party and cannot share, reuse, or derive from code used by another qualifying implementation. Sections of code that have no bearing on the implementation of this specification are exempt from this requirement.
interoperable
passing the respective test case(s) in the official CSS test suite, or, if the implementation is not a Web browser, an equivalent test. Every relevant test in the test suite should have an equivalent test created if such a user agent (UA) is to be used to claim interoperability. In addition if such a UA is to be used to claim interoperability, then there must one or more additional UAs which can also pass those equivalent tests in the same way for the purpose of interoperability. The equivalent tests must be made publicly available for the purposes of peer review.
implementation
a user agent which:
  1. implements the specification.
  2. is available to the general public. The implementation may be a shipping product or other publicly available version (i.e., beta version, preview release, or “nightly build”). Non-shipping product releases must have implemented the feature(s) for a period of at least one month in order to demonstrate stability.
  3. is not experimental (i.e., a version specifically designed to pass the test suite and is not intended for normal usage going forward).

The specification will remain Candidate Recommendation for at least six months.

Acknowledgments

This module was made possible by the advice and contributions of …

References

Normative references

[CSS21]
Bert Bos; et al. Cascading Style Sheets Level 2 Revision 1 (CSS 2.1) Specification. 7 June 2011. W3C Recommendation. URL: http://www.w3.org/TR/2011/REC-CSS2-20110607
[RFC2119]
S. Bradner. Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels. RFC 2119. URL: http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2119.txt

Other references

[CSS3COLOR]
Tantek Çelik; Chris Lilley; L. David Baron. CSS Color Module Level 3. 7 June 2011. W3C Recommendation. URL: http://www.w3.org/TR/2011/REC-css3-color-20110607
[CSS3LINE]
Michel Suignard; Eric A. Meyer. CSS3 module: line. 15 May 2002. W3C Working Draft. (Work in progress.) URL: http://www.w3.org/TR/2002/WD-css3-linebox-20020515
[JLREQ]
Yasuhiro Anan (阿南 康宏); et al. Requirements for Japanese Text Layout. 3 April 2012. W3C Working Group Note. URL: http://www.w3.org/TR/2012/NOTE-jlreq-20120403/

Index

Property index

Property Values Initial Applies to Inh. Percentages Media
box-snap [ none | margin-box | border-box | half-border ]? ]{1,4} [ / <identifier>{1,4} ] none block-level boxes and internal table elements except table cells yes N/A visual
line-grid match-parent | create match-parent block containers no N/A visual
line-slack none | <integer> none all elements yes N/A visual
line-snap none | baseline | contain none all elements yes N/A visual