Bug 69654

Mike Morgan mike.morgan at oregonstate.edu
Tue Dec 9 00:38:19 UTC 2003

Gervase Markham wrote:
 > Font size keywords aren't relative, they are absolute - "medium",
 > "large" etc.. Relative keywords would be "bigger" and smaller".
 > And trust me, the difference is about 2 points, and it is really
 > noticeable.

The font-size keywords are not absolute, they are a compromise between 
relative and absolute.  They are relative because they depend on the 
client's default medium font-size, and they are absolute because they do 
not rely on or inherit their parent element's font-size in a document's 

Although I _do_ trust you, I've seen the difference between IE and 
Mozilla many times, and whether it's acceptable is just a matter of 
opinion.  My opinion is that the noticeable size difference (that mainly 
occurs for larger sizes, esp in IE) is minor and shouldn't be used as a 
reason to abandon using keywords for relative font-sizes or even worse 
fixed font-sizes.

A lot of this is summed up in the link I presented earlier:

Not a formal reference by any means, but its arguments are all solid if 
you take the time to read them.

Whatever you guys want to use I'm fine with, I'm regurgitating all of 
this stuff because I had to make an educated decision about all of this 
stupid font-size crap for tools we develop here at the university, and 
we ended up going with keywords because they really have _no_ 
disadvantages when it comes to usability, which is something you can't 
say for purely relative (nesting) or purely fixed (unscalable in IE) 
font-sizes.  And when it comes to usability versus cosmetics, it's an 
easy choice for pages that are published by a state university or 
government institution.


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