author Myk Melez <>
Tue, 14 Aug 2012 15:27:26 -0700
changeset 102403 07b53bdc212ac3876cea6c2c7906e3106985043e
parent 94484 f4157e8c410708d76703f19e4dfb61859bfe32d8
child 236443 41c005e9398e95871789aa21bb0f26559320b3d9
permissions -rw-r--r--
bug 770770: refactor webapp runtime test harness to reduce complexity/special-casing; r=adw

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<!doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en">
   <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">
   <meta name="Author" content="Nisheeth Ranjan">
   <meta name="GENERATOR" content="Mozilla/4.5 [en]C-NSCP  (WinNT; U) [Netscape]">
   <title>HTML Layout Internals</title>

HTML Layout Internals</h1>

Big picture</h2>
An HTML document comes in from netlib into the HTML parser.&nbsp; The parser
creates parser nodes and feeds them to the content sink.&nbsp; The content
sink constructs a content model that represents the hierarchical structure
of the document.&nbsp; As different sub-trees in the content model are
fully available, the stylesheet processor iterates over them and creates
the corresponding frame hierarchy.&nbsp; The frames recursively layout
and render themselves.
<p>The part that we are going to drill down into is the code in the block
and inline frame classes.&nbsp; Block and inline are the two primary display
types specified in CSS and are used in the layout of most of the HTML tags.&nbsp;
The table related tags have their own display types like "table-cell",
"table-row", etc. and their implementation is a separate topic in itself.
Block and inline code</h2>
The main classes involved in the layout of HTML documents are nsBlockFrame
and nsInlineFrame, both of which inherit from nsContainerFrame (why?).&nbsp;
These classes are persistent across reflows and are organized in a hierarchy
to constitute the frame model of the Gecko system.&nbsp; The frame model
is derived by applying style and presentation semantics to the content
model.&nbsp; Each frame in the frame model has a one to one correspondence
with a rectangular region on the presentation context (screen, printer,
etc.) and contains the formatting information needed to render that rectangle.&nbsp;
The block and inline frame classes implement the nsIFrame and nsIHTMLReflow
interfaces.&nbsp; The nsIFrame interface contains methods for managing
child frames and linkage with sibling frames, accessing the style context
associated with the frame, painting the frame, and handling events that
are passed in from the widget hierarchy.&nbsp; The nsIHTMLReflow interface
inherits from the nsIReflow interface and adds methods related to word
breaking and whitespace querying.&nbsp; The nsIReflow interface defines
the Reflow() method that initiates the reflow process along with the WillReflow()
and DidReflow() methods that get called before and after the reflow process
respectively.&nbsp; nsReflowState and nsReflowMetrics are parameters to
the templatized nsIReflow interface: the former is used to hold state during
reflow of a frame and the latter is used to return the frame's desired
size and alignment to the parent frame during the reflow process.
<p>nsBlockReflowContext and nsBlockReflowState both hold state information
during the reflow process.&nbsp; nsBlockReflowContext encapsulates the
state and algorithm for reflowing child block frames.&nbsp; nsBlockReflowState
contains state and methods used by a block frame to reflow itself.&nbsp;
Both these classes are instantiated once per block frame.
<p>The nsLineLayout class is the engine used by the block and inline frame
classes to layout themselves on a line.&nbsp; Frames get passed in to the
nsLineLayout class via the BeginSpan() and EndSpan() methods.&nbsp; Each
span represents a run of frames with the same style data (???).&nbsp; Other
methods exist on the nsLineLayout class to position and size the frames
on the current line.
<p>nsBlockBandData is the class used to manage the processing of the space-manager
(nsSpaceManager) band data.&nbsp; It provides HTML/CSS specific semantics
on top of the general space management facilities provided by nsSpaceManager.
<p>nsSpaceManager is a class that is told about regions that reserve space
and exposes methods to query for available space in a given band.
<p>The nsLineBox class represents a horizontal line of frames and is singly
linked to the next line box in the document.&nbsp; It is basically a container
of a frame list that share the property of being on the same line in the
formatted output of the document.
<p>The nsTextRun class holds on to a list of frames containing pieces of
text that form a logical text run.&nbsp; This is needed because a single
text run can occur on leaves at many levels of the document's content tree.&nbsp;
This class gives the text layout process an efficient way to get access
to text runs and, so, determine where word breaks should occur.
What are anonymous blocks (nsBlockFrame.h)?
<br>What is the difference between a span and a band (nsLineLayout)?
<br>Why do nsBlockFrame and nsInlineFrame both inherit from nsContainerFrame?
To Do</h2>

Provide more information about methods and state of each of the classes

Give a description of how the above classes interact with each other as
a simple HTML document is laid out.&nbsp; Then, add in different features
to the HTML that exercise different areas of the code, like floats, anonymous
blocks, etc.</li>