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Re: User Agents Do Not Implement Absolute Length Units, Places Responsive Design in Jeopardy

From: Felix Miata <mrmazda@earthlink.net>
Date: Fri, 05 Oct 2012 11:12:46 -0400
Message-ID: <506EF8EE.1030707@earthlink.net>
To: www-style@w3.org
On 2012-10-05 14:15 (GMT+0200) Simon Sapin composed:

> Dan B. composed:

>> Felix Miata wrote:

>>   > IOW, author/designers are_never_  in position to choose the
>>> >optimal base sizing unit for anywhere but the displays they're viewing.

>>> >What standards should be pushing for is for authors for the vast majority
>>> >of pages to choose only proportions among object sizes without regard to
>>> >absolute size, and for the users of the user agents to choose the
>>> >appropriate base sizes for each's own environment. ...

>>> >The dominant text size on virtually every page should be 1rem. Virtually
>>> >everything that needs to be some other size should be sized as some multiple
>>> >or fraction of that user-defined base size. Authors get to choose
>>> >proportions. Users get to define the actual sizes that those proportions
>>> >produce as displayed results, ....

> I havenít followed the original thread so I donít know what the original

Complete post Dan B. replied to: 
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/2011Oct/0687.html

> question was, but isnít this already the case? I think that all browsers
> have some kind of zoom. The author decides of the proportions of various
> elements in a document, and the user (can) use zoom to adapt these to
> their device.

Browser zoom is a defense mechanism, a tool used in reaction to offense. Web 
sites shouldn't be offensive, and defense usage shouldn't be a matter of 
course. http://fm.no-ip.com/Auth/rudeweb.html

> Having units such as 'px' and 'cm' and calling them "absolute" is a bit
> misleading, but when you account for zoom theyíre effectively relative.

There ought to be a unit that can be used to cause certain physical size, 
assuming the environment doing the displaying is or can be made accurate 
taking into account physical display pixel density. That no longer exists in 
modern browsers except for Konqueror and via the non-standard Gecko unit mozmm.

Example usage where intended results are impossible except using the 
exceptions: http://fm.no-ip.com/Auth/Font/fonts-msvista.html.

I have many pages like that that I have not updated since the virtual demise 
of absolute units, all rendered incapable of doing their jobs unless using 
Konqueror or old browser versions, all so that incompetently designed pages 
aren't "broken" by using modern browsers.
-- 
"The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant
words are persuasive." Proverbs 16:21 (New Living Translation)

  Team OS/2 ** Reg. Linux User #211409 ** a11y rocks!

Felix Miata  ***  http://fm.no-ip.com/
Received on Friday, 5 October 2012 15:13:14 GMT

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