Font size problems

At the top of the newsletter I mentioned that we will release a version 1 update later this week or early next. This update will apply to all three products. Registered users can download and install a Version 1 update at any time without charge. We recommend that you first backup any critical files and then install the new version over the top of the previous version.

Trial versions of IMS Web Spinner and IMS Web Engine can also be updated for the time period that is still available in the trial. Web Dwarf is freeware and can of course be updated at any time.

There will be several minor new features available in the update. These are primarily the result of design problems or difficulties that we have observed from tech support questions. I will talk about most of them next week.

The most significant update relates to Font Sizes. As I have mentioned many times, it is important to test your project with as many different computer configurations as possible. One of the most common design problems we encounter results from the fact that Fonts will display at different sizes on different computers. This will sometimes result in overlapping text especially when a page is designed with Small Fonts but viewed with Large Fonts set in the Control Panel. Have a look at the article: http://www.imswebtips.com/issue4top3.htm for a more detailed description and example of this problem.

A solution to this problem is to use Pixel size fonts instead of Point size. Unfortunately we could not find a method that would work reliably in both Netscape and Internet Explorer. Netscape in particular had difficulty dealing with Inline Styles that are necessary when providing Rich Text to HTML conversion capability. The solution we found uses standard Font tags for inline Color and Font Face selection but to use a Style class for assigning pixel size selections.

The new update will use Pixel Size fonts as the default in all new projects but will uses Point Size in existing projects for backward compatibility. The default for any project can be changed by selecting the Options menu, -Set HTML Options dialog. A Font Size section will allow you to select either Pixel or Point size fonts for all text Objects or to disable a global font size format and assign either Pont Size or Pixel Size to individual Text Object.

Within the Text Editor itself is a new drop box next to the Font Size box with Point or Pixel settings. Changing the setting will cause the program to ask if you want to set the new format globally or only to the existing Object.

There are several HTML design issues associated with using Pixel Size fonts instead of Point Size. These relate to Accessibility and User preference. I will address these in the 3rd issue of the Current Design series about HTML and CSS.

"IMS Web Tips" ISSN 1488-7088
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