W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > December 1998

Re: platform-specific font size issues

From: Todd Fahrner <fahrner@pobox.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 12:12:49 -0800
Message-ID: <01f401be29f9$9ee277b0$70cbf5ce@toddnt.verso.com>
To: "Chris Lilley" <chris@w3.org>
Cc: <www-style@w3.org>
>> The current default of 12pt rasterizes very differently across platforms.
>> On Macs, it rasterizes into 12px (logical res fixed at 72ppi).
>Which is dumb because you can use a good 17inch monitor at 1600by1200 to
>get high quality digital soft-proofing of images for magazine work (for
>example) which gives around 150 dpi. On a Mac.

...which is why all graphics apps I've ever encountered have a zoom function
that operates independently of the OS's logical resolution. The answer is
*not* (yet) to have the OS instantaneously set a new logical resolution
every time a client wants to see something bigger or smaller.

Opera's zoom function is getting more elegant in my mind by the moment.
Together with top-level UI to change the value of "medium" by 1px
increments, you'd have a pretty nice platform, I think. Too bad it's

>> than 16. 15 is of course much closer to 16 than to 12, however. Because
>> OS/UA currently assumes a 90ppi logical resolution,
>Actually, yes. In fact, if you do an xdpyinfo command (which gets the
>dots-per-inch of the current X display on Hakon's Sun workstation, guess
>what value you get?

Heh. Perhaps we should dispense with all this confusing talk of "virtual
pixels" and come up with a new unit: the Hakon. Font-size: 15hk.

>As to your suggested change in the Mac browsers default stylesheets,
>well I will let the design teams of the Mac CSS-implementing briwsers
>speak about that themselves.

I understand that W3C tends to avoid platform-specific issues, especially
concerning default values and UI. In this case, however, I think continued
silence on these foundational issues will hinder adoption of relative and
keyword values among designers. That leaves only pixel and absolute units.
In practice, this removes much of the necessity to generate and to parse
documents as trees, because the inheritance issues are not so acute if sizes
are not based on ancestry.

Have you seen the HTML output of Office 2000 yet? In the one example I've
seen, the font size is set in points, inline, for every single block
element. I suppose it's better than RTF. Note: at least Office has a zoom
function, and you can browse or edit in print-preview mode - the appropriate
mode for any document specifying absolute units, IMO.
Received on Thursday, 17 December 1998 15:23:54 UTC

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