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Re: Hey Microsoft! cool it with CSS points ok?

From: Eric A. Meyer <eam3@po.cwru.edu>
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 1997 17:54:08 -0500
Message-Id: <v0310281db09fb60a9f99@[129.22.138.152]>
To: www-style@w3.org
>On Macs without anti-aliasing, pretty much all normal (u&l-case roman) type
>is illegible below 9pt, because on Macs, 1 point is 1 pixel (type is
>rasterized to a nominal 72dpi, regardless of actual physical pixel
>density). Why do you need at least 9 points/pixels? Count the vertical
>"pixels" necessary to represent the essential features of these
>"minimalist" ascii letters (Eg):

   Okay, then, are my suggested properties (see previous post) all that
unreasonable?  Especially if UAs can define the meaning of
'font-size-minimum: legible;' to be a given pixel height.  On a Mac, it
could be 9px; on Windows, it could be... whatever.  I mean, if this is a
terrible idea, rip it apart.  Otherwise, should we actually be considering
it?

>What's that mark? Something you could do with a big GIF? A PDF? Leave out
>the nonvisual considerations: what's the vision for the visual behavior of
>the page?

   No, the mark is as I descibed it: "...to get the most information into
the least space in the most attractive (and, hopefully, functional)
possible fashion."

>What do you mean when you say "the balance of the page"? I suspect you mean
>"the type areas will get out of synch with the graphics, losing alignment,
>appropriate relative masses, etc."

   No, I don't; at least, not about the graphics.  I was thinking of text
headlines getting too big to fit into whatever region of the screen they
had available, even with soft wrapping of the text... which is one of the
reasons (other than simple symmetry) I suggested a 'font-size-maximum' to
go with '-minimum.'

>The disconnect occurs because not all
>elements' sizes are specified in the same unit system.

   I understand your point.  However, in my visions of an ideal Web page,
graphics aren't a big part of the interface, they're pleasing (but
basically content-empty) decorations.  Style sheets, if fully supported,
would offer me darned near everything I need to create the kinds of
interfaces I want to see.  I agreed wholeheartedly with your statement,
"There's such a rich set of possibilities for dynamic design with CSS."
Even with full CSS1 implementation, never mind CSS2, I could get a lot of
what I want.  Since I don't have either, I'm forced to resort to a lot of
the same grotesque hacks to which you alluded.  But that's another deceased
equus.

>I'm not talking about gratuitous typographical animation,
>but about essential typographical adaptation to the constraints of the
>rendering environment and the needs of the user. It's about porting visual
>design intelligence into runtime, out of "design time."

   I agree with you, as it happens.  I try to make my documents as portable
as possible, even across media types.  But if we're going to encourage
authors to use relative measurements, knowing that this might push text
into illegibility, should we consider offering them the ability to set
floors and ceilings?

--
Eric A. Meyer  -  eam3@po.cwru.edu  -  http://www.cwru.edu/home/eam3.html
  Editor, WebReview's Style Sheets Reference Guide
  http://style.webreview.com/
Received on Monday, 24 November 1997 17:54:47 GMT

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