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

RE: platform-specific font size issues

From: Todd Fahrner <fahrner@pobox.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 09:37:24 -0800
Message-Id: <v04020a01b2a583223f98@[]>
To: <benjaminh@epic.co.uk>, <www-style@w3.org>
Thus spake Benjamin Hardcastle:

> If you ask me, a pixel is a pixel. 50 pixels is 50px. Think of arranging text
> with a graphic. Your graphic is 20 pixels high, and you want your text to
>be the
> same height...

Right - the relationship is the critical thing. So conversely, if your text
is 20px, and you want your graphic to be the same height, you can spec the
graphic's height as 1em. Now supposing you'd like the presentation to be
scalable, for any of several good reasons. Replace the pixel specification
on the text with "large", letting the graphic retain its 1em height. The
graphic should scale with the variable-height "largish" text.

Images are empty elements, and while OBJECT's got markup alternates, the
fact remains that text cannot be made to inherit its size through
inheritance from an image's dimensions, while images can be made to inherit
their size through inheritance from their textual parent.

If the relationship between word and image is key, and text must remain
scalable, then images must take their dimensions in em units.

If I happen to know that the x-platform default font-size for "medium" is
16px, and I have an image whose natural dimensions are, say, 160x80px, then
I can suggest its natural dimensions by specing 10x5em, and know that any
scaling will be the result of express user preference for larger or smaller

> Having a variable and non-pixel dependent definition of a pixel
> is a world of pain and confusion, and I would be miffed in the extreme if
> ever came about.

So when you print a 600x600-pixel GIF to a 1200-dpi printer, you'd like the
result to be about the size of your thumbnail? How big would you like it to
be (as a default)? If you believe that this default value should be
consistent across UAs, then you believe that there should be a
device-independent definition of a pixel.
Todd Fahrner                    The printed page transcends space and time.
mailto:fahrner@pobox.com        The printed page, the infinitude of books,
http://www.verso.com/agitprop/  must be transcended. THE ELECTRO-LIBRARY.
                                                   - El Lissitzky, 1923
Received on Tuesday, 22 December 1998 12:51:36 UTC

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