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Re: Length unit relative to media width

From: GS <junkmail.gs@c2i.net>
Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 11:14:14 +0100
Message-ID: <001001c2d8c9$6d597300$ec59d8c1@edda>
To: <www-style@w3.org>

John, I belive your idea of a property screen-width deserves to be 
investigatet more deeply. The underlying problem is of course the 
missing ability of css to build pages that looks the same on all media.

Is it possible to make a logical unifying CSS philosophy? A design 
that both gives the Autor and the User control of the resulting display?

There is two main approaches for layout: 
A)    Floating design.
B)    Documents that looks the same independent of media.
        (Fixed design, like a pdf document)
 
DESIGN A) 
This is the direction W3C has moved, with the consequense that it is 
almost unpossible to make good code for DESIGN B)
 
DESIGN B)
1) Logically, to make document pages that looks the same independent 
of media or screen width, there is only one absolute reference appliable: 
Media resolution width. All relative refereces is relative to this.  For 
instance, a reference to viewport vidth must be calculatet from this basis.

2) Of this reason, only the px unit is widely used on internet. 
Unfortunately, this solution has the drawback that the design will 
only work for a given screen resolution. 
 
UNIFYING  DESIGN
I think that it should be possible to combine those two approaches to 
a unifying system, based on John Lewis's proposal of a screen-width 
property. I actually think that his idea might be better than my original 
proposal of a unit relative to screen-width,  if it otherwise is possible 
to apply.
 
The idea of accessibility is becoming very ambigeous if a floating design 
is  the only one approved by w3c. As a result, one have to use propritary 
formats like pdf to make web-documents that looks similar to paper 
documents.
 
What we need might be a property that is a reference to the media 
a html/css page is designed for. For instance a property that is only 
used on the body element like this:
 
reference-type: client -width  |  media-width  |  none
reference-pixels: <integer>
reference-size: <length>
 
Short notation:
body { reference:screen-width 1200  400mm}
 
Interpretation: 
This document is designed for a resolution of 1200 pixels 
screen width. All length units is based on media width 
of 400mm. When displayed on a different resolution, 
all length units is rescaled according to this. 
  
Example 2:
body { reference:client-width 800 360mm}
 
Interpretation:
This document is designed for a client-width of 800pixels. 
All length units are based on a client width of 360mm. 
When the client is rescaled, the document is re rendered 
according to this, so that the content has the same lokk, 
only a different size.
 
To prevent the document from rendering too small, 
one could also define a property

minimum-width:<length>

body{ minimum-width:400px; } 
 
When resizing smaller than this, you have to scroll to see 
the content. These settings might be changed by the user CSS, 
for better accessibility.
 
This system might improve web-design by:
1) Reduce the need of propritary document-formats.

2) Give the user control of zoom-factor, 
     by changing the value of reference.pixels.

3) Give the user the ability to make the page 
     rescale by setting referense-type.  

 4) Give designers the opportunity to make a design 
     that looks the same on all media.

5) Easy to apply on existing documents.

6) Settings can be changed by scripting, 
    giving the ability to let the user easily fine-tune 
    those values based on his preferences. 
 
I think that eventual drawbacks can be solved, if analyzed properly.


Gaute Sandvik 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Received on Thursday, 20 February 2003 05:22:55 GMT

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