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8.5. Summary

Although some aspects of the CSS formatting model may seem counterintuitive at first, they begin to make sense the more one works with them. In many cases, what seem like nonsensical or even idiotic rules turn out to exist in order to prevent bizarre or otherwise undesirable document displays.

As it happens, having a firm grasp of the visual formatting model is a good foundation for understanding how positioning works. Thus, the next chapter will cover positioning, and do so in a manner very similar to this chapter: the discussion is largely theoretical.


don't let anything coexist next to them. That's all well and good, of course (even if it does ignore floats), but look inside a block-level element such as a paragraph. There are all these lines of text, and we may well ask, "How did they get there? What controls their arrangement? How can I affect that?"

In order to understand how lines are generated, let's first consider the case of an element containing one very long line of text, as shown in Figure 8-45. Note that we've put a border around the line; this has been accomplished by wrapping


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only way to avoid this is to set a background for the positionedelement.

Note that the boldface element in this case is positioned in relationto its parent element's content box, which defines itscontaining block. Without the relative positioning of the parentelement, the containing block would be another element. Consider acase where the element being positioned is a child of theBODY element, e.g., a paragraph or headingelement. With the right styles, the containing block for the