[svlug] Browser problems

Karsten M. Self kmself at ix.netcom.com
Sun Dec 2 01:32:01 PST 2001

on Sat, Dec 01, 2001 at 03:44:35PM -0700, Karl F. Larsen (k5di at zianet.com) wrote:
> I have 3 browsers I can use which are linux Netscape 4.71, and Mozilla
> late version and win98 Internet Explorer. I have made a web page(s)
> for a client and I must say looking at the pages with each browser
> makes it look different as in BAD!
> There seems to be no standard font or size and <font size+3> is a
> differnet size on all three browsers...

A few points, largely amplifying what's been said.

The first law of the web is:  user determines presentation.

Font face and size are, by default, selectable by the user.  If you're
specifying a font face and size, you're violating this basic tenet
(you're in large, if bad, company).  Worst is if you specify font size
in points or pixels.

The problems are several:

  - Font points don't scale to the same size on all platforms, or
    between fonts.  E.g.:  my preferred proportional font (garamond)
    scales about four points smaller than my preferred monospaced font
    (courier new).  There are various possible fixes for this, none of
    them particularly transparent.

  - Fonts are not uniformly available, or presented, across different
    platforms.  Combined with the above, you've got problems with
    websites that specify font face *and* point size, which become
    largely unreadable on other platforms.  This is one of my current
    beefs for websites.  I've opened and am pursuing several bugs
    against Mozilla to allow specific user overrides of this behavior.

  - Page design which is brittle WRT to font face and size is bad.
    You're going to have problems no matter what, as viewers change
    around you.  Best results are to present your data in a clear and
    coherent manner, and let the chips (or pixels) fall where they will.
    Content, not presentation.  HTML is not WYSIWIG.


Karsten M. Self <kmself at ix.netcom.com>       http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?             Home of the brave
  http://gestalt-system.sourceforge.net/                   Land of the free
   Free Dmitry! Boycott Adobe! Repeal the DMCA! http://www.freesklyarov.org
Geek for Hire                     http://kmself.home.netcom.com/resume.html
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