W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > November 1996

Re: Tabs in CSS1

From: David Perrell <davidp@earthlink.net>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2096 13:29:27 -0800
Message-Id: <199611202134.NAA11566@serbia.it.earthlink.net>
To: "Stu Harris" <sirrah@baluga.maximumaccess.com>, "Stefan Olson" <stefan@olsonsoft.co.nz>
Cc: <www-style@w3.org>
Stu Harris wrote:
> ... Pixel measurements are the only reasonable way of thinking 
> about relationships on a Web page. Quite apart from the fact that the

> vast majority of the world measures things in centimetres.

I disagree. As far as legibility goes, pixel measurements mean less
than inches. On the same size display, 10-pixel text legible at 640 x
480 can be illegible at 1600 x 1200.

Mapping of display pixels/inch should be settable in the opsys (ideally
for both x and y). Given a 9"H x 12"W display at 640 x 480, for
example, 53 pixels per inch is 'actual size'. At 1600 x 1200, 133
pixels/inch is actual size. At 1280 x 1024 it would be 107 pixels/inch
horizontal, 114 pixels/inch vertical. Once display mapping is set, it
doesn't matter whether you spec in points, inches, or centimeters, the
measurements will be accurate.

In Windows, pixels/in is a function of the display driver. Some drivers
allow some control. I have a 16"-wide (21" diag) 1280 x 1024 display,
with display pixels/inch set to 112. This is larger than actual size
because the monitor is farther away than I would normally read printed
material. So when 12pt type is spec'd using CSS1, the type appears in
MSIE 3.01 as it would on paper at a comfortable reading distance.

All this is moot as far as CSS is concerned, since measurements can be
spec'd in CSS1 many ways including pixels. But if you want legible text
on the widest variety of displays, it is better to spec in points than
pixels.

David Perrell
Received on Wednesday, 20 November 1996 16:35:17 GMT

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