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Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide by Eric A. Meyer

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Chapter 9. Positioning

The idea behind positioning is fairly simple. It allows you to define exactly where element boxes will appear relative to where they would ordinarily be—or relative to a parent element, or another element, or even to the browser window itself. The power of this feature is both obvious and surprising. It shouldn’t be too surprising to learn that this is the part of CSS2 that user agents usually first attempt to support. Given that there were some very good positioning implementations on the horizon as the book was being completed, we felt it worthwhile to give readers a glimpse of what’s coming soon—or, if you’re reading this book a year or three after its publication, what can be done.

You may notice that, unlike other chapters, almost none of the figures in this chapter was generated with a web browser. This is something of a statement about the reliability and consistency of positioning implementations at the time of this writing: not one of them was solid enough to trust completely. It was actually easier to draw theoretical examples by hand than to take screenshots in web browsers and then retouch them in Photoshop.

This is also why this chapter is largely (but not entirely) free of browser warnings and caveats. Rather than drown the explanatory text in side notes, we have chosen to simply describe positioning as it is given by the CSS2 specification and leave things there. Perhaps the second edition of this book will contain more practical advice, but ...

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