[linux-elitists] A modest proposal to web designers of the world (was Re: Site feedback: fonts too small)

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Wed May 16 15:24:53 PDT 2001

on Wed, May 16, 2001 at 02:52:25PM -0700, Rick Moen (rick@linuxmafia.com) wrote:
> begin  Aaron Sherman quotation:
> > The font sizes on their home page range from the headlines
> > (font face="verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif" size="+1"), which are
> > fairly large to lead-ins for their lead articles (font
> > face="verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif" size="-1") to the lead-ins for
> > the rest of the articles (font face="verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif"
> > size=-2).
> That's certainly nowhere near the _most_ clue-deficient HTML I've seen
> today.  But I'd like the ability to override it.  Suppose those typeface
> names on my machine map to something inappropriate -- or that I simply 
> don't like them, or prefer Lucida (which I do)?  Webmasters often decide
> they know better than I, and it's becoming apparent that educating them
> isn't the easiest / most-efficient way to fix that problem.
> Navigator/Communicator, for all its bletcherousness generally, at least
> let you say "Use my default fonts, overriding document-specified fonts".
> We need this functionality restored in Mozilla & friends.

Mozilla and Galeon allow font overrides, but the problem is that the
sizing directives remain.  In Netscape I could override this by setting
the default font step size to 5% rather than 20%, constraining the size
range to 80% - 120% of normal rather than the 50 - 210% by default.  I
think Don's post has the equivalent Mozilla fix.

Why are neither of these features enabled by default?

> The other item on my feature wish-list, however, is more ambitious:
> I'd like to be able to get access to an HTTP proxy's configuration
> in real-time from within a rendered page.  I want to be able to
> right-click on a rendered item, and specify either (1) proxy to oblivion
> all objects from this IP, (2) proxy to oblivion all objects from this
> FQDN, (3) proxy to oblivion all objects from a subdomain I specify,
> (4) give me the ability to specify some regex substitution right now,
> and implement it immediately, and (5) list all rules currently in effect
> and let me inspect/edit any of them.

This would be interesting.

> It's unreasonable to have to build a general-purpose HTTP proxy into
> every Web browser, so what we should be looking for is a standard
> software interface browsers can talk to, and that proxies can take
> direction from.  I.e., a SWPI = Standard Web Proxy Interface.  If
> you're running the Apache proxy, you'd just also enable this in
> httpd.conf:
>    LoadModule proxy_swpi_module /usr/lib/apache/1.3/libproxy_swpi.so

I use Squid and Junkbuster.  There are HTML rewrite proxies.  Note that
use of a centralized proxy would mean access control or user-specific
rules for rewriting.  The problem becomes rather more complicated as a
result, and probably requires either a per-user proxy or per-user
configurations, with a possible sitewide default.  Note that
Junkbuster's own model doesn't extend very well to multiple users on a
single box, let alone sitewide filtering, due to the coarseness of
user-level filtering options.

> If you're running Junkbuster, you enable the SWPI extension.  And so on.
> Smarter than waiting for webmasters to suddenly sprout common sense, in
> my view.

Fair enough.  Though I'm not looking for common sense but a uniform
level of mediocrity in font rendering.  If same is possible.

Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>    http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?       There is no K5 cabal
  http://gestalt-system.sourceforge.net/         http://www.kuro5hin.org
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