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Re: Image Scaling for High-Pixel-Density (i.e. Retina) Displays - Re: -webkit-image-set and <image>

From: Jason H <scorp1us@yahoo.com>
Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2012 13:50:26 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <1335559826.3850.YahooMailNeo@web120706.mail.ne1.yahoo.com>
To: Tom Penzer <tpenzer@mailcan.com>, "public-html-comments@w3.org" <public-html-comments@w3.org>
I think the approach of attacking it from setting a scaling is wrong.
The real approach is to set the final dimensions, and let the software give the appropriate scaling based on the image metadata.

If you want a double-density image, you're just asking for 100x100 to be rendered in 50x50. The image tag already supports this. <IMG HEIGHT=50 WIDTH=50 SRC="100x100.png"/> Far too often it is implied that the display density is identical to the sampling (pixel density) by not including the height and width attributes.

The real challenge as I see it, is having an efficient way of not sending over-sampled data across the wire, unless you mean to. Sending a double density image actually sends 4 times the data as a native resolution image. I would suggest we leave it up to java script to handle the pixel density matching, where it can dynamically assign the assets to the proper size-density, if needed. For the most part pick something not over sampled and let the browser scale it up if need be. A server-component could dynamically render and cache the common sizes of an image. But I don't see a need to change HTML.

 From: Tom Penzer <tpenzer@mailcan.com>
To: public-html-comments@w3.org 
Sent: Friday, April 27, 2012 3:47 PM
Subject: Image Scaling for High-Pixel-Density (i.e. Retina) Displays - Re: -webkit-image-set and <image>
Hi everybody,

I'm seeking feedback for my (hopefully relatively painless in practice compared to the alternatives - i.e. -webkit-image-set and html5 <image>) proposal to solve the problem of 2x-res (double-resolution) images with our current HTML and CSS standards for devices with high-resolution displays, such as 3rd Generation iPads and 4th generation iPhones and newer.

We add the following elements:

1) The new 'meta' attribute 'image-scaling' with arguments listed in the format {'scaling factor', 'scaling filename key'}, where the filename key is the often-standardized string added to the filename for 2x assets, i.e. '_2x' (it might even be possible to specify a different filename extension for the 2x asset by detecting whether the 'scaling filename key' string contains a period i.e. 'xxx.xxx'). Sub-attributes to the 'image-scaling' attribute would include the optional boolean (defaulted to 'true') attribute 'assume-present', and potentially the optional attribute 'image-scaling-path' for cases where sites store their various scaled image assets in different directories than their 1x images.

2) A new series of optional attributes to the img tag named after the scaling factor, i.e. '2x', '4x', etc., (possible values include 'true', 'false', a string for the double-res filename key, or 'url()' to specify a completely different path for the asset corresponding to that scaling factor)

3) A series of new optional CSS properties named after the scaling factor, i.e. 'background-image-2x', 'border-image-2x' and 'list-style-image-2x' (possible values for these include 'true', 'false', a string for the double-res filename key, or 'url()').

A simple example usage of these new capabilities would be the following:

<meta image-scaling="{2,'_2x'}" />

The effect of adding this single line to the page would be that a user agent that wishes to display double-res images would then attempt to access 'filename_2x.ext' whenever it encounters an img tag like '<img url=("filename.ext") />', or a CSS property like '.class {background-image: url("filename.ext");}', '.class {border-image: url("filename.ext");}' or '.class {list-style-image: url("filename.ext");}'. For all these, in the case that the 'filename_2x.ext' file does not exist, a second request is made for 'filename.ext'.

If the bulk of the 2x-resolution images are located in a different directory than the 1x assets, the meta tag could be extended as such:

<meta image-scaling="{2,'_2x'}" image-scaling-path="{2,'2x_images/'}" />

Then, any 2x img or css-image assets would be requested from '2x_images/filename_2x.ext' instead of 'images/filename.ext'.

If a particular 2x img tag asset or css-image asset has a '@2x' double-resolution filename key instead of '_2x' for some reason (maybe you're integrating with some 3rd party off-site content with a different 2x naming convention), you could add a '2x' attribute to its img tag, such as '<img 2x="@2x" />', or to its css properties, such as '.class {background-image-2x: "@2x";}'.

If a particular 2x-resolution img tag asset or css-image asset is not located in the same directory as the 1x asset, or if the filenames and/or file formats are not identical to the 1x asset, a separate path could be specified by doing this: '<img 2x=url("path/to/filename_@2x.ext") />', or to its css properties by doing: '.class {background-image-2x: url("path/to/filename_@2x.ext");}'.

In the case that a majority, but not all img and css-image assets are available in 2x resolution, the img assets that lack a 2x version would include the a tag such as, '<img 2x=false />, or a css property such as '.class{background-image-2x: false;}'.

In the case that a majority, but not all img and css-image assets are unavailable in 2x resolution, you would add the 'assume-present="{2,false}' attribute to the meta 'image-scaling' attribute, such as '<meta image-scaling="{2,'_2x'}" assume-present="{2,false}" />', and use the '2x' attribute to flag img assets with a double-resolution asset available, such as '<img 2x=true />, and the css with '.class {background-image-2x: true;}'.

In the case that no double-resolution image assets are available, the meta 'image-scaling' attribute can be simply omitted.

By using this approach, we avoid the need to specify the same list of filenames varying only by scaling factor filename key for every single image asset, which is a bunch of busy work that just seems extremely redundant and clumsy to me. We are also able to achieve the same level of performance for those willing to put in the extra work to flag assets that deviate from the default setting (to minimize requests), and we allow the flexibility to be lazy or wrong, and have the user agent make two requests in those cases. This solution is also completely backwards-compatible with existing browsers.

As a corollary to this, a similar approach could be used to add support for different image formats without losing backwards-compatibility, and again saving many precious developer-years. Imagine <meta image-formats="{jpeg2000, '.jp2'}" assume-present="{jpeg2000,boolean}" />

-Tom Penzer
humble web coding noob
Received on Friday, 27 April 2012 20:50:56 UTC

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