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Re: Use relative sizing and positioning

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Mon, 7 May 2001 13:00:43 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200105071200.f47C0hW21260@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Charles F. Munat <chas@munat.com> wrote:
> 
> Robert,
 
> Then, you have an odd mixture of font sizes in your stylesheet:
 
> .eightpx { font-size: 8px; }

8px is too small.  Early dot matrix VDUs used 7 by 5 pixel grids, but
the characters were hand crafted bitmaps.   You cannot expect the nature
of a face to reproduce at these resolutions, and, unless the browser
substitutes a hand crafted small font, you can't expect particularly
legible characters.

> I suggest that you skip the stylesheet sizes "xx-small" through "xx-large"
> and define your own using em. Example:
> 
> .xx-small { font-size: 0.7em; }

A caution here.  xx-small is an absolute size (although relative to a
browser defined reference, and therefore potentially modifiable by
the user.  0.8em is relative.  The behaviours will be different if you
nest elements with these classes (although the cumulative effect is
what you should probably want if you used stylesheets properly).

> Actually, I wouldn't even do that. It's still thinking in terms of sizes.
> You should be thinking in terms of structure.
> 
> My recommendation? I'd avoid using the style attribute or the span tag or

I think it is much more than your recommendation; the rest of this article
basically describes the *only* way in which style sheets were intended
to be used.  Unfortunately most authors have failed to take the hint and
use them as a way of doing ad hoc presentational control that avoids
deprecated attributes, but is otherwise a simple translation of the
constructs the deprecation was intended to eliminate.  (In many cases,
this is because their authoring tools are mapping the old WYSIWYG user
interface into to the new constructs, without any changes to support
the richer capabilities.  Another problem is the apparent flexibility
that results from an unstructured approach, when seen by a client with
a short term view.)

The term style sheet comes from the idea of a document that tells a human
typesetter the house policies for how documents of particular types (not
particular documents) should appear. It is not even new to computer text
processing; MS Word has style sheets and the macro packages for troff,
TeX, etc. often form style sheets.
Received on Monday, 7 May 2001 15:47:36 GMT

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