Inline Edit: empty fields and minimum widths

Anastasia Cheetham a.cheetham at
Mon Jul 7 14:28:48 UTC 2008

Hi, all,

I've run into a bit of a roadblock implementing a minimum width for an  
empty Inline Edit. I'm hoping someone can offer a suggestion.

The problem is this:

It seems you can't set a minimum width on <span> elements without  
setting them to "display:block" (if anyone knows otherwise, please  
correct me!!).

Why does this matter?

In-line elements (like <span>) are preferable to block-level elements  
in the case where the element is 'in line' with other elements (duh)  
because block-level elements are displayed on their own separate line.  
For an example, see the very last line of the following manual test  

This line is broken up into several inline edits. Admittedly, having  
an entire sentence consist of a bunch of inline edits is not  
realistic, but I imagine that having a single inline edit that is  
actually in line with other text would not be out of line.

If these elements in the sample page were created using <div>s, or if  
their 'display' style was set to 'block,' then each chuck would appear  
on a separate line, which would obviously not be desirable.

(Aside: If the Inline Edit is implemented using a <div>, the width  
defaults to the full screen, which is evident if you roll your cursor  
over the very first line of the test page: the highlight is quite  
apparent, and would be so even if the field were empty (so long as a  
min height is set).)

The end result of this is that I can't figure out how to implement a  
guaranteed minimum width for an empty inline edit field.

Any input on how I might do this, or on how important it is to support  
an empty field (i.e. instead of forcing an 'invitation text' display  
in an empty field)?

Anastasia Cheetham                   a.cheetham at
Software Designer, Fluid Project
Adaptive Technology Resource Centre / University of Toronto

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