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Old 7th September 2008
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Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
I can't speak about the resolution (dpi) issues, but by definition there are 72 points per inch.
From what i read, long time ago 72 dpi was the common printer resolution so apple (and maybe others?) set the display o/p to 72 dpi to match it (wysiwyg).

for example, the pixel density for a monitor with 19" viewable area & 1440x900 would be = sqrt(1440^2 + 900^2)/19 pixels/inch = ~90 dpi
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Old 7th September 2008
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I've also heard that the display on one of the old macs made 1in about 72 pixels in length, but that's a bit before my time... And not related to Google Chrome.
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Old 7th September 2008
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That's right, TerryP, and the pixels were square. That was the original Mac. (Not before my time!)
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Old 8th September 2008
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Windows uses 72 dpi and this can be changed. I can't remember anything about the Mac, and I used to be reasonably well versed.

On the web, you should never use pt for sizing text. Most everything is done using ems, percent and px. And many will tell you, including me, not to use px either.

If px makes your fonts huge, then there is inheritance going on that shouldn't be there. Which browser?
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Old 8th September 2008
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Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
I can't speak about the resolution (dpi) issues, but by definition there are 72 points per inch. It has always been so.
EDIT: Macs are designed for print. Windows is designed for the screen. So Macs are probably higher dpi due to graphics and fonts. One of the reasons why Macs are so popular in publishing.
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Old 8th September 2008
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Originally Posted by drhowarddrfine View Post
Windows uses 72 dpi and this can be changed. I can't remember anything about the Mac, and I used to be reasonably well versed.
My XP install defaulted to 96 dpi with a 8pt window text / 10pt title bar text; I remember well because I had tried setting it to the only other available preset (120dpi) before going to custom.


I might be an odd ball or is just a fact that whenever I create a web page, it's usually meant for reading not getting paid for... But I almost never screw with font sizes to begin with lol. Usuaully when I do change the font-size, it's with a keyword size (e.g. small, larger, etc) or with ems. Sometimes I'll inline a <h?> if know exactly what I want for a short passage of text, but I tend to avoid it. Since I believe that the web browsers default setting _should_ be set to something legible to a user, and if there is any reason to use a different size it ought to be realitive to that, and not my own opinions of legibility.


I do hope, that Google Chrome gains the ability to force minimal font sizes, a suitable way of creating extensions by the time they make a complete release. Because the former is invaluable IMHO for controlling the view and constantly ctl++'ing is a pain, while the former is somewhat a fun part to learn ;-)
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Old 8th September 2008
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> it's with a keyword size (e.g. small, larger, etc) or with ems.

The keywords I understand, but using ems or ens?

My own opinion is that you really should learn to use points. The entire typesetting industry has standardized on that, and has used that for a very long time. Every phototypesetter in the old days had a clear plastic sheet with a standard font or two in point sizes from about 6 to 72. There was a point size scale, and a bunch of other stuff. You could use it to identify and make changes easily. Those typesetters also had a book, usually from Mergenthaler, that listed a few thousand fonts in various weights and point sizes.

My ex was a phototypesetter when I met her (she ultimately became an attorney -- yuck!). That's where I learned all this stuff. And the horizontal space is leading ("ledding"); one gets used to talking about 10 on 12 or 11 on 14 (the former is a ten-point font size, with 12 point leading); different fonts have differing x-heights and descenders and ligatures.

I know that the visual display is somewhat different, but that should map directly through the dpi. And using the standard terms makes groff and TeX a lot easier to understand.
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Old 8th September 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerryP View Post
My XP install defaulted to 96 dpi
Whoops. You're right. 96 is the default.

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Since I believe that the web browsers default setting _should_ be set to something legible to a user, and if there is any reason to use a different size it ought to be realitive to that, and not my own opinions of legibility.
Like I said, the default on all browsers is 16px which most of us consider to be a little too big. If you use ems, then your font-size is being set relative to the default size.
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I do hope, that Google Chrome gains the ability to force minimal font sizes
The current thought on things is that the user should be in control of their display and forcing anything on them is bad. In Firefox, I think there might be an extension to force a minimum size but not sure I'm misremembering.

Keywords aren't use by many developers because IE screws them up.
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Old 8th September 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
The keywords I understand, but using ems or ens?
ens aren't available on the web. Internet Explorer screws up keywords in some situations which is why most of us don't use them either.
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My own opinion is that you really should learn to use points. The entire typesetting industry has standardized on that
As you frequently will hear, the web is not print. I know of no one who uses pt (except, now, Terry, )Pts depend on the dpi of the screen. So Macs and PCs and any other computer that's not set the same will look different making it inconsistent. Pts are only used when printing the page.
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Old 8th September 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJ
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Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker
That makes no sense at all, the free market will sort itself out, history has shown us that government trying to ``fix'' a market with (usually retarded) laws has rarely turned out well in the long run.
I love it! A capitalist! I think truer words have not been spoken.
Haha, you know, I'm a member of the Dutch Socialist party But I think I slightly changed my opinion on some subjects over the last few years ... I was already thinking that it might be time to switch to another party, guess this confirms it
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Old 8th September 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drhowarddrfine View Post
As you frequently will hear, the web is not print. I know of no one who uses pt (except, now, Terry, )Pts depend on the dpi of the screen. So Macs and PCs and any other computer that's not set the same will look different making it inconsistent. Pts are only used when printing the page.
I know that print and screen display differ. Still, these days every computer uses pretty much the same sorts of LCDs, except for a few hold-outs like me. What does differ is the screen size; the dpi counts seem to be pretty similar.

Still, TerryP was talking about using ems (I didn't know ens weren't used). use of ems seems even worse than points. An em, in typography at least, is the width of the letter "m" in the font size and family used. So there are two variables in this, rather than just one (the point size). That seems like the wrong approach.

Clearly I am not a web designer, though I am certain aware of the problem. I would have thought that there would be a means to identify the dpi and screen size in the initial negotiation with the web site. That would seem to be about the only way to get any hope of device-independent output, or at least a proper scaling of results (like two columns vs. three or four) for the particular display device. I see no reason why a web site on a cell phone or a 30" monitor should look the same.
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Old 9th September 2008
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I personally find this discussion intently interesting, but someone disrespectful of me to have (seemingly) hijacked drhowarddrfine's thread with it. For that I am sorry drhowarddrfine: even if you've joined us ;-)


If no one has any objections, especially the OP, I really think a Moderator should split most of the points/ems/px stuff off into a separate thread.


------ my reply


I don't know about everyone, but I quite like the concept of a "Point" for print, it's fairly unique and to the point. Just like the word font is within its domain, unlike say using the millimetre to describe the dimensions of a letter on the page. When the document is meant for print-form: I usually think in points and generate either PDF or PS output from my .tex files. I almost never print them, but treat them as printer output. You could say tex output like digital paper.


With a webpage, I try to focus on content and leave styles to later. Most of the stuff I do will downgrade to looking nice in lynx: both because I want it to and because I don't care if they look snazy or not, as long as I like the page itself. I typically tune the standard fonts in a web browser to match my tastes on a specific display and OS, an example might be: 12pt Terminus for mono-spaced text.


If I just want text to generally be of a different proportion of size from the regular font-size, I often settle for the keyword sizes. As long as it doesn't break my layout and I'm not being paid for it, people can generally kiss my grits if their browser doesn't get it *just* right lol. If I want text to just be larger then normal, but have no idea what size the base font will be; then I go for smaller/larger etc. The em unit in CSS is relative to the current font size. So if I actually care how the text size comes out, I usually use em's because the computated value of N em should change if text changes from, say 10px to 16px in sice without my anticipation, it should still be N*size.


My reference defines the a point as 1/72 inch, a pica of 12pt, and a pixel of 1 dot on the computer screen. If I wanted to be as precise as a dot on the computer screen in my font size, I would print the thing instead of using a web browser to view it on my screen !!!





That's why I rarely use pt/px for webstuff, and why I usually don't muck with fonts a lot in HTML/CSS. And just for the record, the only time I've *ever* had to change a page because of wrong rendering from what was intended, was in IE7 on a very simple page ;-). I don't consider myself skilled in web page design and wouldn't want to be if it meant compromising my opinion that the web should be for all, not look sexy under very specific criteria that could change like a fart in the wind (nor do I want to go nuts trying to appease all in a balancing act, because if you try to appease everyone, you'll probably piss them all off imho!)
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Last edited by TerryP; 9th September 2008 at 04:06 AM.
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Old 9th September 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerryP View Post
...I usually use em's because the com[p]utated value of N em should change if text changes from, say 10px to 16px in si[n]ce without my anticipation, it should still be N*size.
If you want to change size, why not just change size? Using ems depends on the font, and it does vary more than you might think. The "x" height changes quite a bit too; compare Times Roman to Palatino, for a simple example.

The point (no pun intended) is that if you wish to change the font size, change the font size based on its value, and not on something that depends on other variables.
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My reference defines the a point as 1/72 inch, a pica of 12pt, and a pixel of 1 dot on the computer screen.
That's right, but picas are used very rarely, and pixels are device dependent. That's never a good idea. What would look good on a 17" screen (for a one pixel adjustment) probably would be lost on a 24" one. Yes, I do use both.
Quote:
That's why I rarely use pt/px for webstuff, and why I usually don't muck with fonts a lot in HTML/CSS.
But you have no idea what fonts people will use on the other end. They can use different defaults than what you expect.

I too am interested in other opinions, but to me it seems that you need to code with some standard for font size. Points are as good as any, and it is the standard for print. Of course you need to do the dpi conversion, and I don't know what is the convention for that.

But unless you start with something absolute, there is no way you can wind up with it at the end. It is the same sort of thing as color calibration. If your image is not calibrated to the standard, you have little hope of it being displayed or printed accurately on another device.
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Old 9th September 2008
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What does differ is the screen size; the dpi counts seem to be pretty similar.
Nowadays you have widescreens and standard screens and someone may be viewing your page on a 800px wide screen or one at 1920 and everywhere in between and there is no connect between the web site and the user's system to tell that. If I make a character 10pt, it might look fine on the 800px screen but unreadable on the larger. But if I adjust for the larger, it would be huge on the smaller.

This is where ems come in. Ems, on the web, are not the same as in typography. 1em is equal to the current size of the current font, whatever that may be. So, in the body of a html document, if I set 'font-size:16px' then 1em=16px elsewhere. Now all my font sizes can be made relative to that. If I want a 12px paragraph, I would say 'font-size:.75em'. Setting 'font-size:1.5em' gives me...well...I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader.

Some developers will do things like set 'font-size:62.5%' in the body. This makes the reference 10px (16x.625=10). But now all em settings now equal pixel sizes. That is, 1.0em=10px; 1.5em=15px, etc.

In some cases, people like to use percentages. Percent works well when you want the page to be "liquid" and resize according to screen size. So if someone shrinks a window, the containing elements will adjust accordingly and you can even make the font sizes adjust but you can imagine what reading problems there may be.
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Old 9th September 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerryP View Post
With a webpage, I try to focus on content and leave styles to later. Most of the stuff I do will downgrade to looking nice in lynx
Many of us do exactly that. Lynx is the first browser I use to test my html for flow, logic, acessibility.
Quote:
And just for the record, the only time I've *ever* had to change a page because of wrong rendering from what was intended, was in IE7
Among current browsers, IE7 is the worst browser on the planet. IE8 is in beta2 and might be finalized in a couple of months. Then IE8 will be the worst browser on the planet. For every 40 hours I spend coding a site, I know I will spend 10 hours trying to make IE perform correctly while every other browser displays the site right.
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Old 9th September 2008
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Ems, on the web, are not the same as in typography. 1em is equal to the current size of the current font, whatever that may be.
Really? I'm not arguing, but this is really a silly convention. An "em" has had a solid definition for 30 or more years. How is it that it was changed?

In any event, if an "em" is defined as the current point size, well, carry on. In my opinion that is silly. But my opinion does not matter in this.
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Old 9th September 2008
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In my opinion that is silly.
No. You are!

Here's where it is in the standard. I know there's a discussion of it somewhere there and I have articles I've collected over the years but I'm too old to look them up.
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Old 9th September 2008
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I'm not arguing that what you describe is the standard. It is just very poor form to redefine existing terms into new ones. The committee should not have done that.

I'll grant that on-screen and on-paper displays require different approaches, but there is no reason why the terminology should differ for such fundamental definitions.
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Old 9th September 2008
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Yes, I understand. Just kidding. Provided a link to that in case anyone wanted to see it.
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Old 10th September 2008
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For those who like Chrome for its speed compared to IE and Firefox, have you tried Dillo or NetSurf? Both are lightweight and have a spring in their step. NetSurf is currently more feature rich than Dillo (which is missing some important features).
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