FONT again?

Warren Steel (mudws@mail.olemiss.edu)
Mon, 03 Jun 1996 22:22:15 -0500


Message-Id: <199606040316.WAA07664@sunset.backbone.olemiss.edu>
Date: Mon, 03 Jun 1996 22:22:15 -0500
To: www-html@w3.org
From: Warren Steel <mudws@mail.olemiss.edu>
Subject: FONT again?

On Fri, 31 May 1996 MegaZone <megazone@livingston.com> said:
>Once upon a time Marcus E. Hennecke shaped the electrons to say...
>>FONT have been declared deprecated. Wasn't there considerable consensus
>>on this list that they should be? Or at least that there should be a
>>strict version without those elements?

>On there being a 'strict' version - yes.
>As for deprecation, no, I don't believe there was.  Just as an example,
>I disagree with you in that I feel CENTER should be deperecated in favor
>of DIV align=center but I believe FONT should stay since it is useful and
>I think trying to force Style Sheet use for simple things like that is
>insane.  The only problem with FONT is the COLOR attribute and that is a
>fault in the implementation *not* in the tag itself.

   I don't know about consensus, but I see no good reason why the
suggestions currently carried by the <FONT> element should not
be relegated *entirely* to style sheets.  In style sheets, authors
could use them (or abuse them) to suggest renderings of their work,
and viewers could adopt these renderings, or override them, according
to their eyesight and taste.  This is in accordance with the spirit
of the World Wide Web.  The <FONT> element *within* HTML has already
been implemented and found to be a failure, precisely because it 
causes data loss and illegibility.  Not only FONT COLOR, but FONT
SIZE and FONT FACE!  Absolute font sizes and extreme relative font
sizes make browsing difficult or impossible for viewers who have
large basefonts (because of impaired vision) or small basefonts
(because of limited display area.  In the same way, some users
have configured their own font faces for specific needs--perhaps
they cannot read Script or Black Letter, or they find Serifed 
fonts more restful to the eyes.  FONT COLOR, as MZ has acknowledged,
is also known to cause unpredictable data loss, due to conflicts
with user settings.

   HTML 3.2 is intended as an attempt to find common ground among
current implementations by "market leaders."  The <FONT> element
has been proven not to work in current implementation.  Perhaps
developers could make the element bulletproof--but they have
shown no interest in doing so, while they *have* shown interest
in implementing style sheets.  Microsoft has already implemented
them, in the MSIE 3.0 beta.  So why bother trying to get these
companies to fix their past mistakes, when they've already moved
on toward a better approach altogether (style sheets)?

   My preference would be to eliminate <FONT> entirely, or at
least stigmatize it as ineffective and obsolescent, with the
possibility of allowing <FONT SIZE="+1"> and <FONT SIZE="-1">
as "aliases" for <BIG> and <SMALL> respectively.  


Warren Steel                        mudws@mail.olemiss.edu
Department of Music              University of Mississippi
          URL: http://www.mcsr.olemiss.edu/~mudws/