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Subject: Re: Font sizes in mail and web pages
From: Jacob Palme <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:IETF working group on HTML in e-mail <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 10 Jun 1998 20:57:49 +0200

text/plain (55 lines)

At 08.35 +0200 98-06-10, Martin J. Duerst wrote:
> What I wanted to express in my mail (and probably didn't do
> well enough) is that these specifications are not enough, that
> most probably some implementor advice is needed, because there
> seem to be different practices for the size of the "normal font"
> for mailers and browsers, and this leads to interoperability
> problems between users that use separate tools for mailing and
> browsing and users that use the same tool for these activities.

Is this a particular problem for MHTML? Is this not an issue for
those who make the standards for HTML?

Take the following HTML sequence with relative sizes:
<FONT SIZE="-1">small text<BR>
</FONT>normal text <BR>
<FONT SIZE="+0">normal text<BR>
<FONT SIZE="+1">big text<BR>

And compare them to the following HTML sequences with absolute sizes:
<FONT SIZE="2">small text<BR>
<FONT SIZE="3">normal text<BR>
<FONT SIZE="3">normal text<BR>
<FONT SIZE="4">big text<BR>

Both Netscape and Explorer will render the upper sequence
with relative sizes in the same way as the lower seuqnce
with absolute sizes. Thus, there is a built-in assumption
in both Netscape and Explorer that the relative sizes are
offsets from the absolute size "3". Is this not specified
in the HTML standard? If so, you should complain to those
who wrote the HTML standard, and ask them to specify that
relative sizes are offsets from the absolute size "3".

If you get an e-mail with very small, almost unintelligble
characters, this could have two reasons:

(a) The sender had set his HTML editor to use a very large
base font, for example to set HTML size "3" equal to 18 pt
font size. The sender had then written the text with "<FONT
SIZE="-2"> to get it looking good for him. If this is the
case, the sender had set the preferences in his HTML editor

(b) The recipient had set his web browser to use a very
small base font, for example to set HTML size "3" euqal to
9 pt font size. If this is the case, the recipient had set
the preferences in his web browser wrongly.

Jacob Palme <[log in to unmask]> (Stockholm University and KTH)
for more info see URL:
Between 26-31 June use phone No. +46-8-664 77 48 not +46-8-16 16 67

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