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Re: thoughts on non-compliant browsers

From: <leslie.brown@evidian.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 2004 11:50:52 +0100
To: www-style@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF5208FCA4.80DEADB8-ONC1256E53.0033EA91@evcl.evidian.com>


> It seems that the ONLY issue is that CSS doesn't have a method to
> scale background images. This limits styles like the one the OP was
> using. If one could strech the background image to always fill the
> element it's background of, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

This seems to identify the key point of this discussion, at
least partially:

   Since CSS doesn't really address the issue of scaling
   images with/without fonts, each browser manufacturer has
   implemented its own particular way to handle user requests
   for scaling, none of which satisfy everybody.

Formalizing the issues in CSS would give the browser
manufacturers a basis to provide a more consistent
and satisfactory offer.

However, it's not just background images that pose the problem:

- What "should" happen to a graphic bullet (list-style-image)
  when the user doubles the font size?

- If the text in screenshot images is significant (for example,
  in a page providing on-line support or training) should they
  scale up when a user boosts the text size?

- (And even) should leading increase proportionately with
  text scaling? If my memory serves me well, paper page
  designers tend to use a smaller percentage leading for
  larger font sizes.

The difficult task seems to be to reconcile three (possibly
opposed) viewpoints:
- The site designers, who "know" that some pages will be more
  comprehensible and/or attractive if images and text
  maintain, near enough, their relative positions

- Users who may find small text difficult to read, or
  may not have enough screen real estate to display the
  entire width/height of the page as designed, or may
  quite simply not like the designer's choice of
  font size

- The browser manufacturers, who have to do the best they can
  to accommodate the (sometimes unpredictable) decisions
  of the designers and users, within the limits of the
  fonts available, and without introducing so many options
  that their products become difficult to use and
  therefore uncompetitive

Would the following be the beginning of a solution.
- Browsers provide two controls:
  .  "Scale text" (like IE and Netscape today)
  .  "Scale everything" (like Opera today)
  An easy way to turn off scaling andreturn to the
  "designer" values is essential.

- CSS adds a property for which I can't think of a better
  name than "scale-basis" and which has at least two values
  that mean:
  .  "Scale with text"
  .  "Scale with page"
  Other useful options might be:
  .  "Scale with class foo"
  .  "Scale with ID foobar"
  .  "Scale with parent"

Typically you might then set:
- "scale-basis: text" for graphic bullets, screenshot
  images containing text that needs to be read,...
- "scale-basis: page" for photos

...and why not:
- "scale-basis: #Image9" for text superimposed on an image
  with ID "Image9" (but SVG probably provides a more
  elegant approach here)

Intelligent defaults could probably handle most cases.
For example, for the difficult case of background images:
- "scale-basis: text" if "background-repeat: no-repeat"
- "scale-basis: page" otherwise
...might usually produce what the designer intended.

Les
Received on Wednesday, 10 March 2004 05:51:18 GMT

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