exactly relative sizes

Down to business. I’m forcing myself to write those reviews. Which doesn’t seem all that logical, because I keep this blog for myself, and why do it if I have to force myself? But oh well. I’ll try to write these in the order they came to mind.

This one’s from last quarter, around January or February. Hah! I learned in my CSS class to use em measurements for font sizes. (Or we could have used percentages. But I went with ems because of that whole GrC student thing I’ve got going.)

I never liked using relative sizing before, because I was used to applying sizes to practially each and every tag and all divs. So everything was shrinking relatively down from whatever size I’d set Body to. Grr, argh.

But in my CSS class I learned that you have to set the default in Body for the em to relate to, and that the default size for one em in all browsers (or just most?) is 16 pixels. Then my teacher taught us that each browser rounds off pixels differently, so to make your design look as similar as possible in different browsers, that we should go four decimal places when figuring em sizes. So to get ten point type, which is the same as 13 pixels (at least on my computers?), you’d have to use 0.8125 ems of the base 1 em, or 16 pixels. That way browsers aren’t randomly rounding up or down to the nearest whole pixel.

That isn’t what I want to talk about though. I always used point sizes because I thought they were relative to a real, absolute measurement: an inch. (A point is 1/72 of an inch.) And it seemed to prove true to me on all the computers I used. 10 point type on my 1024×768, 15″ laptop screen was pretty much the same size as on my 1152×864 17″. It was also a comfortable size on Mac’s 1600×whatever 20″ monitor — not sure if it was the same as my displays though.

But now, now the type on my websites shrink on the more robust monitors! Mac monitors, with their HD display and pixels equating to a fraction of an inch, show my type as barely more than piddly ant scratchings! Incredibly painful for me to read. I don’t know how other people stand it. I always seem to increase the size of type in browsers on bigger monitors. *meep* I’m an old granny at the age of early 20s. (Well okay, I’ve probably got the eyesight of a 90-year-old.)

I guess I should feel satisfied though; at least I know for certain that any and all browsers can increase my type size to the viewer’s liking.

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