Re: HTML 3.xx & scalability

Marcus E. Hennecke (
Thu, 9 May 1996 10:37:25 -0700

Date: Thu, 9 May 1996 10:37:25 -0700
From: (Marcus E. Hennecke)
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: HTML 3.xx & scalability

On Thu, 9 May 1996 02:40:38 -0700, (Walter Ian Kaye) wrote:
> At 5:05p 05/09/96, wrote:
> >at the moment users can set their own default font size- but what does this
> >mean to the page layout when for example picture- sizes are staying the
> >same!!

It essentially means that you can't do page layout with HTML. But that
is nothing new and is actually a feature, not a bug. How can you ever
expect to do page layout if you can in principle have no idea what is
going to display your page (or even if it is going to be displayed)?

> I rely on <table> support to ensure that my text elements remain properly positioned relative to graphics, regardless of font size. As an example:

(Walter: it would be nice if you could wrap your lines to around 72

Of course, tables are not a good substitute for page layout.

> Just don't do like Microsoft does on their web site, where they hard-code table width to 745 pixels.

Yeah, I just *hate* pages that set a fixed table width to enforce page
layout. Either the table is too wide (as in Microsoft's case) and I have
to scroll left and right, or it is too narrow and I have to scroll down
more than necessary. But in either case, it almost always looks crappy
because my fonts and font sizes just are not the same as the author's
(yes, I *am* using Netscape 2.0, so don't argue about me not using a
popular browser!).

But why am I rambling? Surely everybody on www-html already knows about
the perils of trying to enforce a particular layout with HTML.

> >and even then: a user defined font size of <10pt> for example will not be
> >displayed in real 10pt size on the monitor if the pixelsize does not equal
> >1pt.

Why not? Besides, a user will pick a font size because it looks good on
her screen, not because it is a particular point size.

> >this is a big problem in the WIN, unix world where screen resolutions are
> >usually higher than in the MAC world (72dpi is quite the common standard).
> [...]
> Maybe a META tag to indicate to the browser how the page author's system was calibrated (assuming it even was, hehehe). This information could be used along with user preferences (such as scaling factor, threshholds, etc) to determine wheter to scale part or all of a page, or whatever.

I am sure style sheets and real units will provide enough flexibility
to do all this. If you need to scale an image with font size, just do
something like this:

<IMG SRC="foobar.gif" WIDTH="7em" HEIGHT="5em" ALT="Never forget ALT!">


Marcus E. Hennecke