W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-respimg@w3.org > December 2016

Re: aspect ratio as an attribute

From: Adam van den Hoven <adam@littlefyr.com>
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2016 15:21:29 -0800
Message-ID: <CAAkH_kM7keBRyaa8mmQdLSX-KK2y1ZjtaXgxOx1Kuh78puf5Qg@mail.gmail.com>
To: Tommy Hodgins <tomhodgins@gmail.com>
Cc: Yoav Weiss <yoav@yoav.ws>, "Hall, Charles (DET-MRM)" <Charles.Hall@mrm-mccann.com>, Greg Whitworth <gwhit@microsoft.com>, "public-respimg@w3.org" <public-respimg@w3.org>, Jason Grigsby <jason@cloudfour.com>, Paul Deschamps <pdescham49@gmail.com>, Simon Pieters <simonp@opera.com>, alex@bellandwhistle.net, Jonathan Kingston <jonathan@jooped.co.uk>, steve@steveclaflin.com
I'm not saying that you don't *need* a more reliable way than JS or padding
top on a pseudo element to say that this thing should have an aspect ratio
of 4/3 or 9/16 or 4/4 or whatever. I'm saying that for the use case whereby
you want to give the browser enough information to correctly layout a page
before loading all the resources, signalling the aspect ratio (or the true
dimensions) of those resources in the HTML is the best and only solution
(maybe a manifest file that maps resources URLs to a specific size but that
may be tricky to do efficiently).

Your problem, "I want visual element to have a fixed aspect ratio," is an
important problem to solve (particularly if you know the height, not the
width), but its a generalized CSS problem. Aspect ratio of resources
(images and video) is a different problem that also needs solving. That's
the problem the alex, I think, is grappling with.

Imagine the following HTML: https://jsfiddle.net/littlefyr/173xmov9/

Simple (naive, I know bear with me) layout. Now imagine that for various
reasons those images take noticeable time to load.

Your CSS solution cannot give the browser enough information to avoid
reflow once the images load (which for a non-trivial layout may be hugely
problematic). The value is *different* for each individual image
(notwithstanding that I'm using two images twice, pretend I'm not lazy) and
you cannot reliably put in your external CSS. You'd have to do it for all
your images on the site (imagine flickr) and it would be painful.

Your only solution (if the only available approach is CSS) is to *inline* the
aspect ratio on the element. The fact that you have to do this tells you
that its a CONTENT issue not a design issue. I take it for granted that we
should try to solve content issues with HTML and design issues with CSS.

Now it may be that a CSS aspect-ratio *may* be a pragmatic solution if it
only requires ONE set of changes, not two. That's a bit of different
question, however (how todo something, not what to do).

On Wed, Dec 14, 2016 at 2:42 PM, Tommy Hodgins <tomhodgins@gmail.com> wrote:

> I'm envisioning this being useful for a lot more than just photographs and
> pixel-based images or video!
> It would be a huge benefit to CSS for *all sorts* of use cases to be able
> to define a desired aspect ratio for any element in a way that's easy to
> override with other CSS, able to be set or changed with @media queries, and
> works with the normal states the browser and CSS are aware of for styling,
> like hover.
> The HTML attribute doesn't really help me with my responsive design, it
> seems like I'd still have to do all those hacks and JavaScript juggling for
> layout stuff, wishing there was an aspect-ratio property in CSS 😟
> On Dec 14, 2016, at 5:34 PM, Adam van den Hoven <adam@littlefyr.com>
> wrote:
> Tommy,
> What happens when the image that is given that CSS is this one:
> https://marketplace.canva.com/MAB1YTyBMXY/1/0/thumbnail_large/canva-
> butterfly-timeline-infographic-MAB1YTyBMXY.jpg (which picked at random
> from a google search). You're trying to say it is something it is not. Or
> what if #demo-5 has text in it?
> CSS should not be concerned with what something *is* only with how the
> DOM element should appear. Using aspect-ratio in this context makes as much
> sense as having a file-size attribute to allow the browser to prioritize
> things.
> But your demo only *shortcutting* a difficult calculation. Except for the
> first case, there is no reason not to specify the height and width in both.
> its always the same fixed number. Its only when you have relative dimension
> (100% as in demo1) that this has any utility. And I agree that this syntax
> is better than the padding tricks we do now for that problem.
> But this is the use case I mean, which I realize is a better answer to
> Yoav:
> Given an image of arbitrary aspect ratio, how can I give the browser
> enough information to lay out the page correctly before loading the image
> resource if that image is created AFTER I publish the CSS.
> On Wed, Dec 14, 2016 at 1:28 PM, Tommy Hodgins <tomhodgins@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> I'm curious if it was to be defined in an HTML attribute how you would
>> target it with a @media query, or with pseudo-classes like :hover? If it
>> needs to be present in an HTML attribute, can you use it with a
>> pseudo-element like :before or :after?
>> The way I can see this working would be as a CSS property:
>> #demo-1 {
>>   aspect-ratio: 16/9;
>> }
>> #demo-2 {
>>   width: 200px;
>>   aspect-ratio: 16/9;
>> }
>> #demo-3 {
>>   height: 200px;
>>   aspect-ratio: 16/9;
>> }
>> #demo-4 {
>>   width: 200px;
>>   height: 200px;
>>   aspect-ratio: 16/9;
>> }
>> #demo-5 {
>>   width: 200px;
>>   height: 200px;
>>   aspect-ratio: 16/9 !important;
>> }
>> With a demo here
>> <https://tomhodgins.github.io/aspect-ratio-spec/demo.html> of what these
>> should do
>> On Dec 14, 2016, at 4:21 PM, Yoav Weiss <yoav@yoav.ws> wrote:
>> Can you clarify your use-case? Maybe provide a link for a page that
>> demonstrates it?
>> I'm not clear on which parts should be defined (from your perspective) in
>> HTML and which in CSS. (e.g. where is width defined? where is height
>> defined? Are the images constrained by their container? etc)
>> On Wed, Dec 14, 2016 at 10:02 PM Adam van den Hoven <adam@littlefyr.com>
>> wrote:
>>> The problem with CSS arises with what you are trying to say. If you are
>>> saying that the image should be laid our with a certain aspect ratio, then
>>> the value belongs in the CSS. If, however, you are saying that the image
>>> resource has a specific aspect ratio then it should come from the resource.
>>> The HTML is closest to the resource (in a cms, for example) so it should be
>>> able to declare the aspect ratio.
>>> If we're talking logos or anything that is constant through the life of
>>> a site (relatively speaking) the CSS is fine. But for content, and content
>>> is the prime use case I would think, you can't know at "design time" what
>>> the aspect ratio of all your resources are because content creators either
>>> don't listen or they forget or they just get it wrong (scaling gave them
>>> 640 x 479 for some reason).
>>> Allowing the aspect ratio to come from HTML, means your CMS, which may
>>> already know the aspect ratio, can set it dynamically. Dynamically
>>> generating CSS is really difficult on a page by page basis (you end up
>>> rendering the page twice so it's slow).
>>> To be clear. I'm ignoring the idea of inline CSS on the assumption that
>>> if the dominant use case is inline CSS, then you've just chosen awkward
>>> syntax for declaring it in HTML. There might be other reasons to do it in
>>> CSS I just don't think the arguments against doing it in HTML in this
>>> thread are sufficiently argued.
>>> Is also possible that I'm missing some piece of information
>>> On Dec 14, 2016 2:46 AM, "Yoav Weiss" <yoav@yoav.ws> wrote:
>>> I'd like to +1 Greg's concerns regarding adding this to HTML. There's no
>>> real technical reason to do that (i.e. there are no performance benefits to
>>> doing so) and the aspect-ratio is required for display of all elements, so
>>> it makes sense for it to be part of CSS.
>>> On Fri, Dec 2, 2016 at 2:34 PM Simon Pieters <simonp@opera.com> wrote:
>>> On Tue, 29 Nov 2016 17:03:07 +0100, <alex@bellandwhistle.net> wrote:
>>> > Hi,
>>> >
>>> > I’ve been lurking here and just wanted to put two cents in about
>>> > aspect-ratio.
>>> >
>>> > Like most devs here I’ve often dreamed of a way to hint the browser
>>> > about image proportions during page load, but without fixing either
>>> > dimension.  I often use padding-boxes for above-the-fold images, to
>>> > limit layout jumps during load. It works, but it’s a pretty miserable,
>>> > time-consuming pattern. It seems to me that this is the really urgent
>>> > use case. Speaking as a user, when I accidentally tap on the wrong link
>>> > because an image just above my finger has suddenly loaded, the
>>> > irritation factor is really high.
>>> >
>>> > Putting together lots of what’s been said, it seems that solution needs
>>> > to be:
>>> >
>>> > 1) Attribute-based. The CSS aspect-ratio proposals solve different,
>>> more
>>> > complicated problems. They are harder to understand, harder to
>>> > implement, harder to polyfill. I don’t want to wait five years. Since
>>> > the ratio is a property of the asset, it should be marked up with the
>>> > image/video.
>>> >
>>> > 2) Only a hint during load. Once the asset (metadata) is loaded
>>> > successfully, the actual aspect-ratio of the asset takes over. If the
>>> > image fails to load, the image’s box retains the hint. This fails
>>> > gracefully, in cases of sloppy authoring. It also allows conventional
>>> > stretching via CSS, as Tommy Hodgins has requested. Basically, it
>>> should
>>> > do its job and then get out of the way.
>>> >
>>> > 3) Distinct from sizes attribute. I don’t see a way to add onto the
>>> > existing sizes syntax without backwards-incompatible changes. zcorpan,
>>> > correct me if I’m wrong here? Even if there were a way to do it, I’m
>>> > worried it would be hard to read.
>>> We can add new things to sizes="" in a backwards-compatible way; the
>>> sizes
>>> parsing algorithm was specifically designed to make this possible. In
>>> particular, items in the list that fail to parse get dropped, so the
>>> subsequent items can be used as fallback. For example:
>>> <img
>>>     sizes="(min-width: 40em) something new, (min-width: 60em) something
>>> new, something new,
>>>            (min-width: 40em) 60vw         , (min-width: 60em)
>>> 80vw,          100vw"
>>>     srcset="examples/images/medium.jpg 375w,
>>>             examples/images/large.jpg 480w,
>>>             examples/images/extralarge.jpg 768w"
>>>     alt="…">
>>> > I suggest a syntax that closely parallels sizes, e.g.:
>>> >
>>> > <img
>>> >    sizes="(min-width: 40em) 60vw, (min-width: 60em) 80vw, 100vw"
>>> >    aspect-ratio=“(min-width: 40em) 3:2, (min-width: 60em) 16:9, 4:3”
>>> >    srcset="examples/images/medium.jpg 375w,
>>> >            examples/images/large.jpg 480w,
>>> >            examples/images/extralarge.jpg 768w"
>>> >    alt="…">
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > This has the advantage of being familiar, and handles the the
>>> > “art-direction” use case easily.
>>> If you have different aspect ratios for different breakpoints, then you
>>> are probably doing art direction, and should be using <picture><source
>>> media>, not srcset+sizes. I think it makes more sense to have a single
>>> aspect ratio apply to all assets in `srcset`.
>>> --
>>> Simon Pieters
>>> Opera Software
Received on Wednesday, 14 December 2016 23:22:03 UTC

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