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Better UI Layout

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Better UI Layout Support

Detailed write-up


See related issue Computed_Box_Model_and_Style.

Web developers typically rely on using "table" for doing layout. CSS has added some support for layout, but the capability is vastly insufficient and further not universally implemented on different browsers.

Many Ajax toolkits provide a rich set of user interface widgets, with rich layout managers. To create these layout managers, the toolkit developers often have to resort to heroic JavaScript that navigates around browser limitations (not to mention bugs). This feature request is how CSS layout falls short for UI requirements.

Why Is This Important?

Sometimes Ajax toolkits are unable to deliver particular user interface features because there is no way that heroic JavaScript can overcome browser limitations.

Sometimes Ajax toolkits require large downloads and run slower due to the heroic JavaScript which works around things that browsers could provide.

Possible Solutions

This is a well-known area. Most UI systems (XUL, XAML, Flex, ...) have features to support UI layout. The key thing is some sort of 'flex' capability (see


In this section, the contributors should express their opinions about this feature request, such as providing particular technical analysis or describing in prose why this feature is important (or not). It is recommended that each contributor create his own level-3 sub-section (e.g., === Jon Ferraiolo Comments ===).

It is OK for others to insert comments within other people's sections, but as a courtesy please make sure that it is clear which part of the section is original and which section are annotative comments. For example, perhaps annotative comments would be colorized (e.g., enclosed by <span style="color:red">JON: Here is what I think about what you are saying.</span>).

Brad Neuberg's comment

XUL's hbox/vbox system is pretty easy to work with and having something similar would be nice in the browser, especially for web applications versus web pages. I would include being able to do 2 and 3 column layouts from CSS without having to resort to CSS black magic in this as well; having this would help normal webmasters to lay out their web pages without being CSS gods.

Mike Wilson's comment

David Baron recently reintroduced the CSS flexbox spec on the W3C CSS mailing list, see

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