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Ajax: The Definitive Guide by Anthony T. Holdener III

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Easy Font-Size Switching

The easiest user customization a developer can offer is dynamically changing font sizes. Though this is offered through the browser, it is a nice feature to have built right into the application. The more functionality that is programmed directly into the application, the more it will feel like an application and less like a typical web site. This occurs because the user will spend less time moving the mouse outside the application when font-size switching is available right on the page. Also, keeping the user focused within the application makes the user feel self-sufficient with it. Further, this standardizes how to obtain this functionality when it is in the same place—in your application—despite different browsers or operating systems.

Using Relative Sizes

Because of all the bugs that browsers had back in the 4.0 era—specifically, Netscape Navigator 4 and Internet Explorer 4—it was hard for developers to get any consistency using relative font sizes. To address this issue, developers were advised to use pixels for all font sizing, to get some semblance of normalcy with fonts in a web page.

Times have changed, of course, and so have browsers' ability to render fonts correctly using relative units of measure. Thinking of backward compatibility, we still need to be prepared for the odd Netscape Communicator 4.8 floating about, but with some simple CSS tricks, this is easy to handle. Other than that, relative font sizes are the way to go, for several reasons: ...

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