W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > August 2010

RE: [css21][css3][svg] SVG and unit-less length values

From: Sylvain Galineau <sylvaing@microsoft.com>
Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2010 00:47:31 +0000
To: "Dr. Olaf Hoffmann" <Dr.O.Hoffmann@gmx.de>, "public-fx@w3.org" <public-fx@w3.org>, "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <045A765940533D4CA4933A4A7E32597E277DACF1@TK5EX14MBXC120.redmond.corp.microsoft.com>
> From: www-style-request@w3.org [mailto:www-style-request@w3.org] On


> At least for CSS+(X)HTML we can consider these style sheets as broken
> anyway.
> I have screens with resolutions above 100dpi for more than 10 years.
> Because some authors want me to look at font-sizes of about 8px,
> I always set the minimal font-size at a browser at something like 12-
> 20px.
> Either the style sheet scales with this or it is no useful styling for
> (X)HTML
> - and if it causes problems for reading the content, such a styling is
> switched off completely, because it is useless nonsense.
> Typically for well structured pages the default styling of a browser
> is sufficient for such broken styling cases - therefore no problem at
> all, if
> the author did not manage to povide a useful styling.
> If the page is not structured well without author styling, it is broken
> anyway, this cannot be changed with styling or scaling of lengths ;o)

Breaking pages that use such stylesheets may be acceptable to a user like 
yourself who knows how to override font sizes using advanced browser settings
or a user stylesheet and knows what CSS is and how to turn it off.

None of which is true for 99% of web users (at least).

> It causes only problems for CSS for (X)HTML style sheets, if they are
> not worth to be displayed anyway. 

And who decides whether they are 'worth' to be displayed ? Is it reasonable
for a user's banking web site to be unusable on his new computer with a big 
fancy new display because a working group he never heard of decided that the 
site's stylesheet was no longer worth displaying using current display 
technology ? What's more important: the stylesheet's political correctness or 
the user ? 

(Mental image of message box saying 'Sorry. This stylesheet was not worthy')

>The font-size is never under control
> of the author due to minimal font-sizes. If the style sheets depend on
> wrong assumptions or on a wrong/awkward choice of units, nothing
> can save such a style sheet - it was already broken, when the author
> created it.

It may be broken in the solution space that you prefer. But if that 
solution space assumes it is OK to break millions of web pages for 
hundreds of millions of users as punishment for the past transgressions
of a few web designers, it will lose out to those solutions that 
produce no such outcome. And the browser that does choose to punish users 
for all the 'unworthy' but otherwise valid CSS that worked fine for years 
may well lose out to those browsers that elect to preserve the layout 
integrity of existing content as pixel density increases. A process which,
of course, implies a non-trivial amount of cross-browser interop pain.

This is not an optimal course of action, to say the least.

We can in fact 'save' such stylesheets. Most importantly, if we can preserve
users' experience of existing content as hardware improves then it is quite
hard to justify solutions that do not, given the number of users and the amount
of content involved. 

> It is the task of authors to choose units properly for CSS+(X)HTML,
> because for this combination this is essential to get something
> predictable with different font-sizes and viewport sizes.

It always was their task. But that doesn't fix nor convert the content
that is out there. Browser vendors are not in the business of punishing
millions of users to educate thousands of designers on the mistakes of
their past work. 

Not the ones I know, at any rate.



Received on Saturday, 14 August 2010 00:48:11 GMT

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