[thelist] Site Critique Please (thereformist.com)

martin.p.burns at uk.pwcglobal.com martin.p.burns at uk.pwcglobal.com
Wed Oct 24 04:19:30 CDT 2001

Memo from Martin P Burns of PricewaterhouseCoopers

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Hi Paul

I understand the point of making allowing the user to have
control over fonts, but it's not just a question of looking 'not quite
as good' on a Mac; em-sized fonts are pretty much unreadable.

So for a small gain for Windows users, you have a near-100%
loss of usability for Mac users, and that's not a happy balance.

You seem to be running Apache, so here's a possible XSSI
way of doing this:
<tip type="XSSI in stylesheets">
Rather than serving different whole stylesheets for different platforms
which will lead to all kinds of version control nightmares, why not
have a single CSS file, which switches font-sizes for different platforms
within it?

You can do this with Apache's XSSI - basically, Server Side Includes
with added variables and conditionals.

You can get CSS files being parsed by adding them to your
.htaccess file:

Options Includes
AddType text/x-server-parsed-html .shtml .css

(more info at
http://evolt.org/article/A_Cheesy_htaccess_Tutorial/18/226/index.html )

and then do the following to your CSS file:

At the start add:
<!--#if expr="${HTTP_USER_AGENT} = /Windows/" -->
    <!--#set var="small" value=".7em" -->
    <!--#set var="normal" value=".8em" -->
    <!--#set var="large" value="1em" -->
    <!--#set var="very_large" value="1.2em" -->
    <!--#set var="huge" value="1.4em" -->

<!--#else -->
    <!--#set var="small" value="10px" -->
    <!--#set var="normal" value="11px" -->
    <!--#set var="large" value="12px" -->
    <!--#set var="very_large" value="14px" -->
    <!--#set var="huge" value="18px" -->

<!--#endif -->

and then in the rest of your stylesheet, drop in the
variables like so:

li {
   color: black;
   font-size: <!--#echo var="normal" -->;
   line-height: <!--#echo var="very_large" -->;
   margin-bottom: 5px; }

p {
   color: black;
   font-size: <!--#echo var="normal" -->;
   line-height: <!--#echo var="huge" -->; }

As it's SSI, it has a much lower overhead than firing up the CGI
and a Perl interpreter.

All you need to do then is quote the one CSS file, as you've
done already:
<style type="text/css"> @import "thereformist.css"; </style>
and it all works beautifully.


Sent by:  thelist-admin at lists.evolt.org

To:   thelist at lists.evolt.org
Subject:  Re: [thelist] Site Critique Please (thereformist.com)

I used "em" sizing for the fonts so the viewer can adjust it if desired. I
pondered about the sizing because it looks quite bigger on a Windows
machine. Given the choice between having it look better for Windows or Mac,
I went with the majority rule.

> From: Jamie Bakum <jamie.bakum at circle.com>
> Yikes! Type too tiny!
> Mac OS9.1, IE5, 1280x960

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