[maemo-users] writing HTML for tablets

From: Andrew Daviel advax at triumf.ca
Date: Sat Apr 12 23:28:38 EEST 2008
On Sat, 12 Apr 2008, hendrik at topoi.pooq.com wrote:

> On Sat, Apr 12, 2008 at 07:55:15PM +0200, Olivier Ricou wrote:
>> You have the feeling your eyes cannot see a higher resolution but
>> you are wrong (*). For usual text I agree low resolution is ok however
>> if you read a PDF or any antialiasing text, if you look at a movie,
>> you will appreciate to have a better resolution. Think that 300dpi
>> printers have been replaced by 600dpi ones when most screen are
>> less than 100dpi. I have a 1600x1200 15" screen and before I had
>> a 1400x1050 for the same size. I do appreciate the difference
>> and since my computer is quite old, I look for higher resolution.

Hm. Maybe.. Some years ago when my eyes were better and Linux did X11 the 
hard way I had a 0.26mm dot CRT carefully set up so that the X11 pixel 
size matched the phosphor dot size. X11 fonts looked really crisp and I 
could read maybe 10pt with no problem. But antialiased fonts as used on 
Windows looked smeared and I had to use a bigger font size and sit 
further away from the screen. Which seemed like another good reason not 
to use Windows, if one had a quarter of the usable display area compared 
to the same hardware using Linux.

>> The only limit I can see is the size of the text in mm (or inches)
>> which is quite different since you always can increase the size
>> of the font if your resolution increase.

OK, for pixels substitute point size. The basic issue of not being able 
to fit so much text on a pocket tablet compared to a desktop remains.

> The big problem is that a lot os servers ignore the user's settings, so
> they specify the sizes of text boxes explicitly in pixels based on their
> specified font sizes, regardless of the browser's minimum font size.
> So in practice, I often don't have the option of increasing font size to
> make text readable.

This has long seemed a problem with HTML style. Images are specified in 
pixels, while text is in point size. What fits on one platform (Windows, 
generally) doesn't fit on others (X11), even if the same fonts are 
available (Microsoft released "web fonts" including Arial, then withdrew 
them, but I think they are still around for free or maybe even included 
in distros; I haven't checked recently). And that, as you say, is 
regardless of the user having changed their font size away from the 
system default.

Re. servers, as I recall some versions of IE send a display size (in 
pixels) in the User-Agent header. But Mozilla does not. So the server
does not, in general, know the user's preferences. Except for language,
used in Apache error messages and not much else as far as I can tell.

In my demo I used JavaScript (running in the browser) to check the 
display size. In pixels, not pointsize. I'm not even sure if it's 
possible to find what the user's display is really set to. Using
ctrl+, ctrl- in Firefox on my desktop seems to change the size in pixels 
of a particular pointsize, different from the script below
which changes the pointsize in an element. But I tend to write legacy 
HTML and don't usually do this stuff, so I may have missed something


> That said, my glasses are approximately -7 diopters.  I can see
> all the pixels I want by taking my glasses off and holding my n800
> about 12 cm from my nose.


I could do that when I was 12. Now I need a microscope to solder surface-mount chips.


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