browser functions and HTML

Warren Steel (
Mon, 13 May 1996 11:41:00 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 13 May 1996 11:41:00 -0500
From: Warren Steel <>
Subject: browser functions and HTML

andreas schneider said:
" unfortunately: here functionaliity and appearance are mixed: <h1> text
appears larger than eg <h4> tagged text.
it is a conservative and unacceptable presumption that  'more importance'
or 'higher level' necessarily should result in  'bigger'  "

   I know of no requirement that hierarchical headings must be displayed
in graded sizes.  Many browsers do somthing different, or allow users to
choose how these elements are displayed.  You seem to be making 
assumptions based on how *your* browser renders them.

" to make something <big> or <small> is applkying a very ambiguous attribute.
how 'big', how 'small'
if referenced in % or given in absolute terms it would make some sense..."

   What you mean is that these tags may be rendered variously on 
different systems.  This is obvious, and realistic.  "Absolute terms"
are *not* realistic on the World Wide Web.

" HTML documents in itself are to date unfortunately not scalable. the only
feature which make them seem scalable is the option of most browsers to set
the body text's default size (or linespacing).
for those, who have the ambition to layout HTML documents for best
legibility & readability this is a very serious drawback. "

    On the contrary, the scalability, wrappability, and configurability
of HTML text are precisely what enables it to be rendered legibly and
adequately on a wide variety of user agents to a wide variety of users.
The use of inline images (fixed size in pixels), preformatted blocks
(fixed width in characters) and complex tables may partly compromise 
this scalability, but wise authors keep these in acceptable bounds,
while acknowledging that users are the ones who best know their own
systems, displays, and special needs. 

Warren Steel              
Department of Music              University of Mississippi