[thelist] front end design: liquid design

Gunlaug Sørtun gunlaugs at c2i.net
Thu Oct 30 14:23:58 CDT 2008

Felix Miata wrote:

> It boils down that the only relevant relatives in CSS are the em and 
> the ex. Fortunately they can work, if only more than a token number 
> of developers would use them for something besides arbitrarily 
> shrinking most text from whatever user preference sizes happen to be.

That's the problem with 'em'/'ex' - they're locked to font-size. If used
_directly_ as units for element-dimensions they easily force layouts
wider than the available screen if one sizes text up, or cramp
everything together in very narrow "pages" in those very rare cases were
text is already large enough to allow for down-sizing.

The 'em' unit can be useful for 'max-width' in percentage-dimensioned -
what I call "conditional" - layouts, but it is pretty useless for
dimensioning anything but text beyond that.

Browsers generally not so great scaling of objects other than text,
makes the 'em' even less useful beyond basic text-scaling and
"dimensional conditioning".

CSS has a solution for the lack of proper units and many other
problematic areas, in mediaqueries - changing conditions based on
resolution and available dimensions and whatnot. The status of that CSS
spec, and support across browser-land, is not were it needs to be for
this to be a practical method today though.

Today the status is that "nothing works really well", which means it is
not possible for anyone to create something anywhere near the ideal web
publishing solution that can/will work for all end-users, with html/CSS
alone - and the alternatives are not great either.


More information about the thelist mailing list