Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

A quote from the article: "Logically, a box is measured from border to border. Take a physical box, any box. Put something in it that is distinctly smaller than the box. Ask anyone to measure the width of the box. He'll measure the distance between the sides of the box (the 'borders'). No one will think of measuring the content of the box."

I won't try to imagine the originator's reason for taking this view, but to me it undermines the reason for having a nonzero-width border between the inside of the box and the outside. I would have argued that the border of a CSS box is like the wall of a physical box, with an inside width and an outside width. Inside the border, we can adjust appearance with padding. Outside the border, we can adjust spacing between elements with margin. To a page designer, the "width" of the box should be the width of its interior.

Imagine a country that needs to establish the limits of its territory. There is a line on the maps between their territory and that of its neighbors. They decide to establish a border region, a finite-width "no man's land" (that only women can visit). Do they draw the "border" inside the established frontier, or outside it?

But these are all flawed arguments, and this is well-recognized in the container industry, who always specify a container's interior width, and an exterior width. To fill the box, one needs to know the interior width. To ship the box, one needs to know the exterior width. The difference is the wall thickness, and the corollary in CSS is the border width.

So the argument "Logically, a box is measured from border to border ..." is true, but would only be a useful description if the border had zero thickness.

But the argument that follows: "No one will think of measuring the content of the box", in which "content" is meant to contrast with "width", is obviously wrong -- to many, content size is exactly what measuring width means.

And as others have said here, it's far too late to be having this conversation. Standards must precede their application, not follow them.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact