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Re: Proposal: font-size: auto

From: David Woolley <forums@david-woolley.me.uk>
Date: Wed, 06 Jun 2007 07:54:44 +0100
Message-ID: <46665A34.5030400@david-woolley.me.uk>
To: www-style@w3.org

Windy Road wrote:
> 
> *David Woolley* wrote:
> 
>     em is defined in terms of the (new) font size!!
> 
> Yes.  That's the point. It wouldn't make sense to have width 400px and 
> font-size:auto ad it leaves no way for a browser to calculate a correct 
> font-size.

I had assumed that you were doing a 2D fit.

> 
>     This is likely to result in very small fonts

> How so? Just say you have a browser window, which is 1024px across.  If 
> the properties above were applied to the body, the width of the body 
> (including the margins) would be 54em, resulting in a font size of  ~ 
> 19px.  At a width of 800px, the font-size would be ~ 15px and at 640px 
 > it would be ~12px.  In the example I provided, the text is actually
 > more

And with typical PDAs, at 150px, it would be of the order of 3px.  More 
realistically, given the font sizes that seem to be preferred by 
designers, one would start at 7px and reduce to about 1px, i.e. font 
sizes tend to start at the smallest size that is renderable as 
recognizable characters (and assumes good vision on the part of the user!).

Although designers are notorious for using excessively small fonts, even 
for well designed pages, the range of reasonable body text font sizes is 
small compared with the range of possible window sizes.

> 
> I don't know much about how browsers perform incremental rendering, so 
> please excuse my ignorance. How would an element would font-size: auto 
> be different to a block element with no width specified?  In both cases, 

The problem was that I assumed you were doing a 2D fit, which is what I 
would suspect many designers would want (although I'm not suggesting 
that that would be a good thing for HTML).

Static and semi-static content tends to be designed to fit on a single 
screen, but, often, to try to get maximal content onto that screen, so 
designers, given the ability to auto-size fonts, would probably want to 
avoid vertical overflows of the screen.

-- 
David Woolley
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Received on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 06:55:12 GMT

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