[rfc-i] Should Figures be allowed to float?
julian.reschke at gmx.de
Fri Jan 10 00:53:40 PST 2014
On 2014-01-10 09:03, Riccardo Bernardini wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 2:47 AM, Paul Hoffman <paul.hoffman at vpnc.org> wrote:
>> On Jan 9, 2014, at 12:57 PM, Jim Schaad <ietf at augustcellars.com> wrote:
>>> The current layout rules are all based on the assumption that figures are going to be placed in-line in the text and not allowed to float freely and allow for the text to flow around them in those cases where it makes sense. I have been working on a document where there is a picture and a set of steps. Allowing the step description to flow around the picture of the steps would probably improve the reading experience for this document.
>> This seems like a minor improvement for a lot of UI pain. The "allow to float" attribute would need to say how far the figure would be able to float; getting the units right on that would be daunting, to say the least.
> I would suggest using the LaTeX approach that, in my experience, works
> pretty well (as long as one knows that the float will be moved around;
> float mobility is a major surprise/annoyance for LaTeX beginners).
> LaTeX decides where to place floats (figures and tables, but also
> other "objects" like algorithms, ...) according to an algorithm
> similar to this
> * The float is placed as soon as possible, compatibly with the
> following constraints.
> * Floats are placed at the top or at the bottom of a page or on a
> page that contains only floats.
> * A float cannot be placed before the point it is "declared"
> * Fig. <n> cannot be placed before Fig. <m> if m < n
> * The user can modify this behavior by using some options (e.g.,
> put only on top, only on bottom, put the float exactly here!)
> The actual algorithm is a bit more involved and it is described in the
> Leslie's book.
>> Can you quantify "probably improve"?
> Although this question was directed to OP, let me add my 0.02 Euros.
> Clearly, it is difficult to quantify something like this, but I had
> few experiences with documents with non-floating figures and it can be
> quite annoying. For example, it can happen that a figure is placed
> almost at the bottom of the page with only one or two text lines after
> it. When you arrive at that page, you read the text before the
> figure, you do not notice the line after it and move to the next page,
> just to find that there is a jump in the sentence. You go back, go
> forward again, check the page numbers and, finally, you discover the
> line after the figure. If the document has many figures, this can
> be quite annoying.
> Honestly, I do not see any major drawbacks (from user's perspective)
> in having floats, especially if we provide an attribute to say "place
> it here!" for those very very rare cases when it is needed (I write
> scientific papers &stuff with LaTeX since the 90s and I never used
> this option).
> I guess that handling floats will make the xml2rfc code a bit more
> complex, but if you think that in LaTeX float handling is written
> using TeX...
A big -1.
I don't believe we need this complexity. Floating figures are great for
paginated layouts, but we are moving away from that.
Best regards, Julian
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